Ukraine shoots down missiles over Kyiv in night attack

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Ukraine shot down 29 of 30 missiles launched by Russia in overnight air strikes but one person was killed in an attack on the southern city of Odesa, the Ukrainian military says.

Black smoke filled the sky over Kyiv on Thursday during the ninth attack on the capital this month. Falling debris from missiles hit by air defences set off fires in eastern parts of Kyiv, causing minor damage but no casualties in the capital, officials said.

Ukraine's military said the barrage of 30 missiles launched by Russia overnight included cruise missiles fired from the sea, air and land, and that two Iranian-made Shahed attack drones and two reconnaissance drones had been knocked out.

"All targets over Kyiv were shot down," General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.

An anonymous witness in Kyiv said: "There was a very powerful explosion. Then I saw the smoke. I found out that the debris fell on the garages, my one is nearby. I see the rocket debris now."

Officials in Odesa said an unspecified industrial facility had been struck when a missile crashed to the ground after being hit by air defences, killing one person and wounding two.

Russia, which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has stepped up air strikes in recent weeks as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to try to take back occupied territory.

After particularly heavy air strikes on Kyiv on Tuesday, Ukraine said it had shot down six Russian "Kinzhal" missiles. Moscow later denied losing six of the hypersonic missiles which it has touted as all but unstoppable.

Russia said it had destroyed a US-made Patriot missile defence system during Tuesday's attacks but Ukraine denied this.

Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Thursday the Patriot system was still being used by Kyiv.

"Therefore, I ask everyone to remain calm. The air defence is working and will continue to offer protection," he told Ukrainian television.

Meanwhile, Beijing's special envoy noted there was no panacea to the war urging all parties to create conditions for peace talks, China's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Special envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui visited Kyiv on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he exchanged views with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian foreign minister and other state leaders on ways to end the Ukraine-Russia conflict through a political settlement, the foreign ministry statement said.

"China is willing to promote the international community to form the greatest common denominator for resolving the Ukrainian crisis, and make its own efforts to stop the fighting and (establish a) ceasefire and restore peace as soon as possible," the statement said.

"China has always played a constructive role in alleviating the humanitarian situation in Ukraine in its own way and will continue to provide assistance to Ukraine within its capacity," it added.

Ukraine's foreign minister told Li on Wednesday that Kyiv would not accept any proposals to end the war that involved losing territory or freezing the conflict, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said.

Li, who is a former ambassador to Russia, will also visit Poland, France, Germany and finally Russia during a multi-day trip. He is the most senior Chinese official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

During Li's visit to Kyiv, bilateral relations were also discussed, and both sides agreed to work to maintain mutual respect and keep moving forward with mutually beneficial co-operation, China's foreign ministry said.

Both governments agreed that a recent phone call between President Xi Jinping and Zelenskiy had pointed out the direction for the development of relations.