Ukraine sounds country-wide alarms amid Russian drone strikes; Western tank training to begin
Ukraine sounded alarms across the country on Thursday after Russia launched a wave of missile and drone strikes, officials said.
Air sirens were also heard in the country’s capital city of Kyiv, where missile defense systems successfully struck down 15 targets.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Ukrainian military general Serhii Popko said missiles were fired “in the direction of Kyiv,” but did not disclose if Russia was intending to target government buildings or something else.
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Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko similarly said explosions were heard in Kyiv’s Dniprovskyi district, on the eastern side of a river that divides the city.
Photos from Kyiv showed residents huddled in the subway system.
The attacks come as Ukrainian military officials are set to be trained to use Western tanks.
Germany and the United States announced Wednesday they would send advanced battle tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian troops to use them in an effort to help Kyiv make breakthroughs in combat stalemates, as the Russian invasion nears its one-year mark.
The training will start within days, Germany’s defense minister said.
German Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius said Ukrainian troops will first learn how to operate the German-made Leopard 2 tanks at a training site in Germany by the end of the month.
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Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense took to Twitter Wednesday to celebrate the start of the training.
“Free at last,” the department tweeted with a photo of a leopard. “He is coming to Ukraine to do the job. Our lands will be liberated!”
The tanks are expected to arrive in Ukraine before the end of March, Pistorius said.
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Germany is initially sending 14 Leopard 2 tanks, though it could send as many as 88 tanks to Ukraine. The United States will send more than 30 Abrams M1 tanks, the Pentagon announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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