Russian drones kill 4 at Ukraine dorm as rival peaks end
KIEV, Ukraine — Russia launched exploding drones that killed at least four people in a student dormitory near Kiev before dawn, just hours after Japan’s prime minister left the Ukrainian capital after a demonstration of support for the country.
On the same day, Chinese leader Xi Jinping left Moscow after discussing his proposal to end the war, which was rejected by the West as a non-starter.
A gymnasium and two dormitories were partially destroyed in an overnight drone strike in the town of Rzhyshchiv, south of the Ukrainian capital, local officials said.
It was not clear how many people were in the dormitories at the time.
The body of a 40-year-old man was pulled from the rubble on the fifth floor of a dormitory, according to regional police chief Andrii Nebytov.
More than 20 people were hospitalized, Nebytov said, and some others were unreported.
The Ukrainian air defense shot down 16 of the 21 drones launched by Russia, the Ukrainian General Staff said.
Eight of them were shot down near the capital, according to the city’s military administration. Further drone strikes hit the central-western province of Khmelnytskyi.
The drone fire and other Russian nighttime attacks that hit civilian infrastructure prompted a scathing response from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a day after Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed China’s proposals for negotiations to end the war.
“More than 20 murderous Iranian drones, plus rockets, numerous grenades, all in a final night of Russian terror,” Zelenskyy wrote in English on Twitter.
“Every time someone tries to hear the word ‘peace’ in Moscow, another order for such criminal strikes is issued there,” he wrote.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the current leader of the Group of Seven countries, paid a surprise visit to Kiev on Tuesday and pledged his support behind Zelenskyi’s government, while his Asian rival Xi sided with Putin.
After returning to Poland on Wednesday morning, Kishida said he had expressed Japan’s and the G-7’s “unwavering determination of solidarity” with Ukraine during his talks with Zelenskyy.
Kishida’s visit to Ukraine is “very meaningful” for Japan’s future support of that country, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Wednesday.
“Through Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Ukraine, Japan was able to show not only other members of the G-7 but also the international society, including nations of the Global South, its determination to defend the rules-based international society,” Hirokazu said called Matsuno.
Kishida’s visit diverted some attention from Xi’s trip to Moscow, where he promoted Beijing’s peace proposal for Ukraine, which Western nations had already dismissed as a way to consolidate Moscow’s gains. Xi left Moscow early on Wednesday.
The visits by Xi and Kishida, some 800 kilometers apart, highlighted how the countries line up behind Moscow or Kiev during the nearly 13-month-old war.
In a joint statement, Russia and China stressed the need to “respect every country’s legitimate security concerns” to resolve the conflict, echoing Moscow’s argument that it sent troops to prevent the US and its NATO allies from entering the country into an anti-Russian bulwark.
Kishida, on the other hand, called the Russian invasion a “disgrace that undermines the foundations of the international legal order” and vowed to “continue to support Ukraine until peace returns to the beautiful Ukrainian lands.”
Ukraine’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday it had agreed a $15.6 billion loan package with the International Monetary Fund aimed at bolstering Kiev’s finances. Russia’s invasion has crippled the economy, and Ukrainian officials are hoping the IMF deal will embolden its allies to lend financial support as well.