Key developments on April 9:
- Overnight Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia kills 2, including a child
- A civilian in Kharkiv Oblast hospitalized in critical condition after Russian shelling
- Macron says ‘time is not for negotiations,’ calls on China to deal with Russia’s nuclear threats
- Ukraine’s Air Force: Patriot and other Western air defense systems to arrive ‘in the near future’
Russian forces continued attacks on civilians across Ukraine on April 9 as Pope Francis used the traditional Easter mass to pray for both Ukrainians and Russians. The majority of believers in Ukraine will celebrate Easter one week later, on April 16, in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox calendar.
The day began with an overnight Russian missile strike targeting a residential area in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, killing a man and a child, acting Mayor Anatolii Kurtiev reported. One woman was rescued and taken to a local hospital.
Later in the day, the Russians also struck the town of Druzhkivka in Donetsk Oblast with multiple launch rocket systems, wounding two civilians, according to President's Office Head Andriy Yermak.
In the eastern Kharkiv Oblast, Russian mortar shelling injured a civilian. He had to be hospitalized in critical condition, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said.
Russia’s continued attacks come as both sides signal readiness for a prolonged war.
Returning from his visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with French publication Les Echos that Beijing has also made a similar observation and “today, the time is military.”
According to the French leader, right now, “the time is not for negotiations, even if we prepare them.”
He said that the aim of this discussion with China was to solidify a common approach, including on a “negotiated and lasting peace” in Ukraine.
Macron said in the interview published on April 9 that another aim of his in-person talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping was to make “a clear reminder” that “it is up to China to draw the consequences” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent threat to deploy nuclear tactical weapons to Belarus.
Ukraine awaiting more Western equipment
Ukraine’s Air Force said on April 9 that the long-awaited Patriot missiles and other Western air defense systems would arrive in the country “in the nearest future.”
“We are talking about the systems that we have already been promised to provide, which should arrive in Ukraine in the near future,” the Air Force’s spokesman Yurii Ihnat said, as quoted by the Armed Forces’ Telegram channel.
In particular, work has been underway to speed up the delivery of the American Patriot air defense systems.
Back in March, CNN reported, citing American officials, that the U.S. would be able to speed up the delivery of the Patriots and send them to Ukraine "in the coming weeks."
One Patriot battery costs more than $1 billion, including $690 million for the missiles and $400 million for the system itself, Reuters reported, citing the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
Besides the Patriots, which are expected to substantially improve Ukraine’s air defense capabilities, Ukraine announced over the weekend that it would partner with Poland to improve logistics on tanks.
Ukraine's state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom announced on April 8 that it would launch joint maintenance of Soviet-era T-64 tanks with a unit of state arms producer Polish Armaments Group (PGZ).
The agreement, signed by Ukroboronprom and PGZ's arms manufacturer Bumar-Labedy, kicks off a Ukraine-Poland partnership to repair and maintain T-64 tanks in the city of Gliwice in southern Poland.
To provide additional ground support for Ukrainian forces, Warsaw will also provide Ukraine with 200 Rosomak infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and half of them will arrive in the nearest future, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 8.
The Polish news agency reported on April 1, quoting Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, that the infantry vehicles would be "paid for by European money" but "also by American money that has been given to Ukraine."