Russian attack on eastern Ukraine kills children as Kyiv strikes blow with bomber takedown

Kyiv, Ukraine - Russian strikes on Ukraine in the early hours of Friday killed at least nine people, including three children, as Kyiv said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber for the first time.

Russian strikes on Dnipro in eastern Ukraine on Friday killed multiple people, including children, and caused serious damage to buildings.
Russian strikes on Dnipro in eastern Ukraine on Friday killed multiple people, including children, and caused serious damage to buildings.  © STRINGER / AFP

Moscow said a military plane crashed over the south of the country while returning to base from a combat mission after suffering a technical malfunction.

The downing of a Russian bomber used to fire cruise missiles at Ukraine would be a highly symbolic win for Kyiv, which has been pounded by hundreds of overnight Russian aerial strikes since Moscow invaded more than two years ago.

The latest overnight Russian strikes on the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region killed at least nine people and injured more than a dozen, Ukrainian officials said Friday.

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"A child who was heavily wounded during a massive enemy attack on the Dnipropetrovsk region today died in hospital. The death toll had now risen to nine, including three children," the office of Ukraine's Prosector General said in a statement on Telegram.

Strikes were recorded on the region's Synelnykivsky area – where at least two children, aged six and eight, were among those killed – and the regional capital of Dnipro, the interior ministry said.

"Unfortunately, the number of victims is expected to rise. The rubble of the damaged buildings is being cleared," Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said in a post on Telegram.

Ukraine gets boost from taking down long-range bomber

Ukrainian officials claimed the country's air defense systems had taken out a Russian long-range bomber for the first time.
Ukrainian officials claimed the country's air defense systems had taken out a Russian long-range bomber for the first time.  © Screenshot/Telegram/@VVV5807

After the strike, President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated his calls for Ukraine's Western allies to supply air defense systems.

"Every country that provides air defense systems to Ukraine, every leader who helps persuade our partners that air defense systems should not be stored in warehouses but deployed in real cities and communities facing terror, and everyone who supports our defense is a life saver," Zelensky said on social media.

The US House is gearing up for a crucial weekend vote on a long-stalled $61 billion package of military aid for Kyiv that could deliver much-needed weapons to Ukrainian soldiers struggling on the front lines.

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In a boost for their forces, Kyiv said it had downed a Russian long-range strategic bomber for the first time in an overnight attack.

"For the first time, anti-aircraft missile units of the air force, in cooperation with the defence intelligence of Ukraine, destroyed a Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bomber," Ukraine's military said in a statement on social media.

One of the four crew members died in the incident, Stavropol governor Vladimir Vladimirov said in a post on Telegram, and two were taken to a local medical center.

"The search for the fourth pilot is continuing," he added, posting photos of the burnt-out and mangled fuselage of the plane in a field.

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Telegram/@VVV5807 & STRINGER / AFP

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