Xi left Russia’s capital pledging to deepen ties with Putin but the meetings failed to achieve a breakthrough on Ukraine.
As Xi flew back to Beijing, Russia’s military launched a barrage of strikes with Iran-made Shahed drones on Ukraine’s Kyiv region, killing at least nine people, according to Ukrainian authorities. Andrii Niebytov, the Kyiv region’s police chief, said seven others were injured when a drone struck a dormitory building in the town of Rzhyshchiv.
In the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, at least one person was killed and 34 injured – including two children – after Russian missiles hit apartment blocks, in what has been described as a “deliberate strike” to “kill civilians,” according to senior Ukrainian official and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
Video of the attack shows an explosion blasting through the side of two nine-story residential buildings.
The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said in a statement at least six missiles hit the city, causing extensive damage.
“One of the missiles hit between two high-rise buildings, partially destroying apartments and balconies, damaging roofs and breaking windows,” the statement said. “The blast wave and debris also damaged other nearby residential buildings, cars and other civilian infrastructure in the city.”
‘We are not afraid’
Student Kyrylo Chorniy, 20, was inside the apartment block just meters from where the blast struck.
Using a torch to point out his apartment, he told CNN outside the complex that he “heard an explosion and saw a fire.”
Inside, all the windows are blown out. Chorniy said his father was standing by a window when the explosion happened and narrowly avoided being killed. Still, Chorniy and his parents say they will not be forced out of their home.
“We are mostly angry. We are not afraid. Why would we be? It is our home,” he said. “I will sleep at my bed. My parents will sleep at their beds. It will be a little bit cold because we don’t have windows but we are not going anywhere.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack “bestial savagery” on social media app Telegram and later said the wave of Russian strikes Wednesday would be met with a reply from Ukraine.
“All Russian strikes will receive a military, political, and legal response,” he said. “Russia will lose this war.”
The Biden administration on Wednesday stopped short of accusing Russia of targeting civilians with missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia but said it “certainly” is consistent with previous such attacks.
“It’s obviously right out of the Russian playbook to target civilian infrastructure and to show no regard for avoiding the targeting of civilians,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.