Ukraine claims that 29 Russian cruise missiles were shot down by its Air defense


KIEV, UKRAINE (AP) Russia fired 30 cruise missiles across Ukraine in the latest night test of Ukraine’s air defenses early Thursday morning, 29 of which were shot down, officials said.

A Russian missile that penetrated and hit an industrial building in the southern region of Odessa killed one person and wounded two, said Serhiy Brachuk, spokesman for the regional military junta.

China has announced that its special envoy met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev earlier this week and met with Ukraine’s chief diplomat, amid a recent intensification of Russian airstrikes.

The Chinese government’s peace proposals have so far produced no tangible progress in the war, and China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday that the warring parties need to “build mutual trust” to move forward. 

Ukrainian officials who attended the talks tried to win China’s support for Kiev’s own peace plan, according to the Ukrainian president’s office. President Zelensky’s proposals include restoring the country’s territorial integrity, withdrawing Russian troops, and holding Russian President Vladimir Putin legally responsible for the February 2022 invasion.

Meanwhile, Kremlin-appointed authorities in occupied Crimea said on Thursday that an explosion derailed eight rail cars, raising new suspicions of possible Ukrainian sabotage behind Russian lines.Russian state media reported that the train was carrying grain.

State news agency RIA Novosti said the incident occurred not far from the city of Simferopol, citing an emergency service official. The Crimean railway company said the derailment was caused by “unauthorized interference” and no one was injured. Ukrainian officials declined to comment on possible sabotage. Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told Ukrainian television that Russian railway lines “are also used to transport weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles.”

Loud explosions were heard in Kiev all night as Kremlin forces launched their ninth attack on the capital this month. This was a marked escalation after weeks of silence and in the face of the long-awaited Ukrainian counterattack with newly supplied modern Western weapons.

Debris fell in two districts of Kiev and a fire broke out at a garage facility. Kiev junta chief Serhiy Popko said in a Telegram post that there was no immediate news of casualties.

Ukraine also shot down two exploding Russian drones and two reconnaissance drones, officials said. Ukrainian commander-in-chief General Valery Zardini wrote in a telegram that the missiles were launched from Russian sea, air and ground bases.

According to Kiev officials, the Russian military used strategic bombers in the Caspian region to launch Soviet-era X-101 and X-55 missiles. Russia has since deployed reconnaissance drones over the capital.

In the last major air strike on Kiev on Tuesday, Ukrainian air defenses, bolstered by sophisticated systems provided by the West, shot down all incoming missiles, officials said. The attack involved hypersonic missiles, which Putin has repeatedly touted as a key strategic advantage. One of the most advanced weapons in Russia’s arsenal, the missile is difficult to detect and intercept due to its hypersonic speed and maneuverability.

But Western sophisticated air defense systems, including US-made Patriot missiles, have saved Kiev from the kind of destruction seen along the country’s main fronts in the east and south.

Ground fighting has largely come to a standstill on this front, but both sides are targeting each other’s territory with long-range weapons.