Ukraine reports downing 21 Russian drones

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Ukraine reports downing 21 Russian drones

Ukraine’s military said Thursday it shot down 21 of the 22 aerial drones Russia used in overnight attacks against areas across Ukraine.

The Ukrainian air force said the intercepts took place over the Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy and Zhytomyr regions.

Serhiy Lysak, the regional governor of Dnipropetrovsk, said on Telegram the drone attacks injured at least one person while damaging shops, a sports club and a gas pipeline.

Officials in Chernihiv said a Russian missile damaged the power grid.

Russia’s defense ministry said Thursday it thwarted Ukrainian drone attacks over the Belgorod, Bryansk and Tambov regions.

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a drone injured three people.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States late Wednesday for its latest announcement of military aid for Ukraine.

“Additional air defense, artillery, anti-tank weapons, and other critical items, as well as funds to purchase Patriot and NASAMS missiles, will strengthen our warriors and improve our battlefield capabilities,” Zelenskyy said. “We count on continued U.S. assistance to strengthen Ukraine’s defense and enable us to effectively counter Russian aggression and protect our people against Russian terror.”

The Pentagon on Wednesday formally announced a two-part security assistance package for Ukraine, valued at just over $2.3 billion.

The initial aid includes missiles, rockets and artillery from U.S. stockpiles, valued at up to $150 million.

Some of the key capabilities include more missiles for Ukraine’s HAWK air defense systems and ammunition for its High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

It will also include artillery rounds, mortar rounds; Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles; and Javelin anti-armor systems.

This handout photograph taken and released by Dnipropetrovs’k Regional Military Administration on July 3, 2024, shows communal workers clearing debris following a Russian strike in the city of Dnipro, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The second part of the package, valued at about $2.2 billion, will be used to purchase missiles for Ukraine’s Patriot missile defense systems and more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS). Those systems will need to be assembled and will be delivered at a later date.

The formal announcement of the aid package comes a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the Pentagon.

“Ukraine is in a tough fight,” Austin told Umerov ahead of their meeting. “The Kremlin continues to intensify its bombardment of your cities and civilians.”

“Make no mistake,” Austin added. “Ukraine is not alone, and the United States will never waver in our support.”

The announcement of the new U.S. aid package comes a week before the U.S. hosts a NATO summit where more military support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing invasion is to top the agenda.

“The most important deliverable at the upcoming NATO summit is precisely what Secretary Austin was referencing, and that is hardware: artillery shells, air defense interceptors, other kinds of weaponry that the Ukrainians need to defend themselves,” said Charles Kupchan, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“If the NATO summit should showcase anything, it is the continued flow of assistance and the continued flow of assistance over the long run,” Kupchan told VOA. “Because I think the message here is that the Russians cannot wait out Ukraine and cannot wait out the West.”

Some information for this story was provided by Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.

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