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White House condemns ‘brutal strikes’ against Ukraine, calls for more air defense

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 22, 2024 5:19 PM 2 min read
The aftermath of the Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia overnight on March 22, 2024 (Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Ivan Fedorov/Telegram).
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The White House on March 22 condemned Russia’s “brutal strikes overnight against Ukraine’s cities and civilian infrastructure,” after a series of attacks killed at least five people and left almost 1.5 million people without electricity.

In a post on X, U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson added: “It’s critical we provide Ukraine more air defenses to defend against these attacks. Lives are on the line."

“House Republicans must pass the national security supplemental ASAP.”

Russia launched over 150 drones and missiles against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure in what has been called "the largest mass attack on Ukraine's energy grid" throughout the full-scale war.

With a $60 billion military aid bill still stalled in Congress, Ukraine is in increasingly critical need of more air defense systems and ammunition for the ones it already possesses.

Data released by the Ukrainian Air Force on March 22 shows only 37 of 88 missiles launched in the latest attack were intercepted.

Zaporizhzhia's Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant, Ukraine's largest hydroelectric station, was hit during the attack, Ukrhydroenergo said.

The company reported fire at the station but said there is no threat of a dam breach, adding that the situation is under control.

Regional authorities said that there were at least five killed and 31 injured among the casualties reported so far.

In lieu of the stalled US aid, on March 21 President Volodymyr Zelensky urged EU leaders to use frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine and purchase weapons this year.

The European Commission has proposed to use 90% of the revenue generated by frozen Russian assets to purchase weapons for Kyiv and allocate the remaining 10% to the EU budget to support Ukraine's defense industry.

The proposed measure would allocate around 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to Ukraine per year.However, EU leaders are unlikely to reach an agreement on confiscating profits from Russian assets during the summit, namely because Hungary is against using them to boost Ukraine's military capabilities, Deutsche Welle reported, citing an unnamed senior European diplomat.

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Editor’s Note: This article was published by the blog “The Counteroffensive with Tim Mak” on March 22, 2024, and has been re-published by the Kyiv Independent with permission. To subscribe to “The Counteroffensive,” click here. Aahed Bakkora will never forget the night that birds began falling out…
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