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Russia Bombards Ukraine with Missiles, Ukraine Says

Russian drones and missiles streaked into Ukrainian skies early Saturday morning, Ukrainian officials said, in a large-scale air assault that appeared to be targeting western Ukraine, including regions near borders with NATO allies.

The Ukrainian Air Force said some missiles were heading toward the western Zakarpattia and Lviv regions, which border Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Polish Army said on social media that it had sent fighter jets to protect the southeastern part of its territory in case a missile crossed the border, as has happened in the past.

The wave of attacks, targeting a part of the country that has so far been less affected by the war, could add urgency to Ukraine’s recent calls for help from allies to protect its western region.

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, the Ukrainian Air Force reported launches of attack drones followed by waves of missiles. Debris from a downed Russian drone started a fire at an infrastructure facility in the western region of Vinnytsia, and several explosions were heard in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, local officials said. No casualties were immediately reported.

The extent of the damage from the attacks remained unclear as of 6 a.m. local time. Ukraine’s energy minister said that energy facilities in five regions had been targeted. In recent months, Russia has pounded the country’s energy infrastructure, in what appears to be a campaign aimed at cutting off electricity and making life miserable for civilians.

Ukrainian officials argue that if allies used their own planes and air defense system to shoot down Russian missiles that come close to their own borders, it would ease the burden on Ukraine, which is facing shortages of air defense ammunition and weapons.

“Technically, all of this is possible. Shooting down Russian missiles already in Ukrainian territory, from their planes,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with The New York Times last week, noting that Ukraine’s western neighbors were already scrambling jets to protect their airspace during such attacks.

That kind of direct NATO involvement, which analysts say could provoke Russia to retaliate, has been resisted by the United States and European governments. Now that Washington and other allies have agreed to partly lift a ban on Ukraine’s use of Western weapons to attack inside Russia, Ukrainian officials might try to press their case further.

On Friday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Mr. Zelensky, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app that if Ukraine’s western neighbors would shoot down Russian missiles from their territory, it would “allow Ukraine to concentrate its scarce antimissile systems in the east and south of the country,” which are under near daily attack.

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Nathan is an experienced journalist. He's covered a broad spectrum of topics, including politics, culture, and human interest stories, always aiming to engage and inform his audience. Nathan has a degree in Journalism and upholds the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in his work.

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