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Ukraine's defense minister speaks with Pentagon chief about Russia's largest air attack, front-line situation

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 30, 2023 9:46 AM 3 min read
An earlier meeting between Defense Minister Rustem Umerov (L) and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the 15th Ramstein summit on Sept. 19., 2023. (Rustem Umerov / Twitter)
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Defense Minister Rustem Umerov spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin by phone on Dec. 29 and discussed Russia's largest air attack on Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion and the situation on the front line, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

“Secretary Austin reiterated that the commitment of the United States and our coalition of some 50 Allies and partners to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression will remain steadfast,” the statement read.

Umerov and Austin pledged to remain in close contact.

Russia unleashed its largest air attack on Ukraine on Dec. 29, targeting multiple Ukrainian regions with 158 missiles and drones.

The attack killed 30 people and injured over 160 as of 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, according to Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. The number of victims might increase as rescue operations continued as of 8 p.m. on Dec. 29.

‘Hit the Kremlin:’ Kyivans don’t hold back after Russia’s mass attack kills 9, wounds 30 in the capital
Thick columns of smoke were rising in Kyiv after several sites were hit by Russia early on Dec. 29. In Kyiv, Russia hit three locations, according to Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. Local authorities reported nine people killed and 30 injured. Russia unleashed a barrage of 158 attack drones and m…

Casualties were previously reported in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhzhia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was "the most massive attack."  

Ukraine downed 114 of 158 Russian missiles and drones, according to the Air Force. Among the downed targets were 27 Russian Shahed attack drones and 87 cruise missiles.

In total, Russia launched 36 drones, at least 90 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles, eight Kh-22/Kh-32 cruise missiles, 14 S-300/S-400/Iskander ballistic missiles, as well as five Kinzhal ballistic missiles, four anti-radar missiles, and one Kh-59 cruise missile.

"Russia was attacking with almost everything it has in its arsenal," Zelensky wrote on Telegram in the morning following the attack.

Zelensky said the attack destroyed or damaged over 100 private houses, along with 45 multi-story buildings, schools, two churches, hospitals, a maternity hospital, and numerous commercial and warehouse premises across Ukraine.

"Targets are already familiar for Russia," he said.

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Sitting down with the Kyiv Independent for an interview in Kyiv, Ukraine’s top diplomat is sharply dressed and in a good mood. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is among the last Ukrainian top officials who still prefers a suit to a military-style garb. He’s happy with the work his ministry has

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10:21 PM

Zelensky meets Britain's King Charles.

President Volodomyr Zelensky met with Britain's King Charles on July 18, and in a post on social media thanked the U.K. for being "one of Ukraine's closest and most important allies."
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