Ukraine war: Odesa drone attack kills three as US delegation promises to deliver aid

Russian drone strike on Odesa kills three

At least three people died in Odesa last night after a Russian drone attack caused a fire in a shopping district.

Posting on Telegram, regional governor Oleh Kiper said that Ukrainian air defence forces had destroyed nine of the ten drones launched during the night at the port city in southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian military sources said Russia launched a total of 31 drones against Ukraine last night, with air defences destroying 23 of them.

Some of the drones that escaped Ukrainian defence crashed in the city of Dnipro, injuring eight people. According to the local authorities, they hit a nine-storey building destroying several flats. Search operations are still underway.

According to the Ukrainian NGO Humanitarian Platform, an independent body of 78 Ukrainian and international NGOs providing humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, the war has killed more than 10,500 civilians, including 587 children, and left around 20,000 injured.

The constant shelling, they say, is leaving a “generation traumatised, displaced and fearful for their lives”.

US Senate delegation in Ukraine as aid hangs in balance

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is heading to Ukraine on Friday to try to reassure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials that Congress will deliver another round of military aid, even as a package that would provide $60 billion to Ukraine remains in limbo in the House of Representatives.

Schumer’s surprise trip comes at a perilous time for Ukraine. Zelenskyy has said that delays in aid from the US and other Western countries are creating an opening for Russia to make advances on the battlefield, with Ukrainian forces running dangerously low on ammunition and weaponry.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy with US Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (left) and Chuck Schumer.

While the Senate passed a $95 billion (€87.7 billion) package to aid Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan last week on a bipartisan vote, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has not yet put forward a plan for passing it in the House.

Schumer told The Associated Press that he plans to tell Ukrainian officials that “we’re going to win this fight, and America is not abandoning them.”

Zelenskyy has stressed that all possible efforts must be made to end the war by the end of 2024.

White House tees up new Iran sanctions over Russia arms sales

The White House is promising to unveil new sanctions on Iran in the coming days in retaliation for its arms sales that have bolstered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and threatening a “swift” and “severe” response if Tehran moves forward with selling ballistic missiles to Moscow.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said yesterday that the US will be “imposing additional sanctions on Iran in the coming days” for its efforts to supply Russia with drones and other technology for the war against Ukraine.

The US has been warning for months of Russia’s efforts to acquire ballistic missiles from Iran in return for providing Tehran with enhanced military cooperation.

White House national security communications adviser John Kirby speaks at a press briefing at the White House.

“We have not seen any confirmation that missiles have actually moved from Iran to Russia,” Kirby said, insisting that the US nonetheless has “no reason to believe that they will not follow through”.

He said that if Iran moves forward, “I can assure you that the response from the international community will be swift and it will be severe.” He said the US would take the matter to the UN Security Council, where Russia has a veto.

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