This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
French President Emmanuel Macron urged Europe’s leaders to find ways to “accelerate” aid to Ukraine as Russia continued to pound the EU hopeful with missiles.
“We will, in the months to come, have to accelerate the scale of our support,” Macron said in a speech on January 30 during a visit to Sweden. The “costs…of a Russian victory are too high for all of us.”
EU leaders will meet in Brussels on February 1 for a meeting of the European Council, where they will discuss aid to Ukraine as the war approaches its second anniversary.
Ukraine continues to hold off large-scale Russian grounds attacks in the east but has struggled to intercept many of the deadly missiles Moscow fires at its cities on a regular basis.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia had launched nearly 1,000 missiles and drones at Ukraine since the start of the year as Kyiv maintained a missile-threat alert for several regions on January 30, hours after Russian strikes killed at least three civilians.
“Russia has launched over 330 missiles of various types and approximately 600 combat drones at Ukrainian cities since the beginning of the year,” Zelenskiy said on X, formerly Twitter.
“To withstand such terrorist pressure, a sufficiently strong air shield is required. And this is the type of air shield we are building with our partners,” he wrote.
“Air defense and electronic warfare are our top priorities. Russian terror must be defeated — this is achievable.”
A man was killed and his wife was wounded in the Russian shelling early on January 30 in the village of Veletenske in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, the regional prosecutor’s office reported.
U.S. lawmakers have been debating for months a supplementary spending bill that includes $61 billion in aid to Ukraine. The aid would allow Ukraine to obtain a variety of U.S. weapons and armaments, including air-defense systems. The $61 billion — if approved — would likely cover Ukraine’s needs through early 2025, experts have said.
Separately, regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said that Russian forces had fired 272 shells at Kherson from across the Dnieper River.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, one civilian was killed and another one was wounded by the Russian bombardment of the settlement of Myrnohrad, Vadym Filashin, the governor of the Ukrainian-controlled part of the region, said on January 30.
Also in Donetsk, in the industrial city of Avdiyivka, Russian shells struck a private house, killing a 47-year-old woman, Filashkin said on Telegram.
Russian forces have been trying to capture Adviyivka for the past several weeks in one of the bloodiest battles of the war triggered by Moscow’s unprovoked invasion in February 2022.
Indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas has turned most of Avdiyivka into rubble.
Earlier on January 30, Ukrainian air defenses shot down 15 out of 35 drones launched by Russia, the military said.
The Russian drones targeted the Mykolayiv, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, and Kharkiv regions, the Ukrainian Air Force said.
Russian forces also launched 10 S-300 anti-aircraft missiles at civilian infrastructure in the Donetsk and Kherson regions, the military said, adding that there dead and wounded among the civilian population.
The Ukrainian Air Force later said that the Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhya regions remained under a heightened level of alert due to the danger of more missile strikes.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said its air defenses had destroyed or intercepted 21 Ukrainian drones over the Moscow-occupied Crimean Peninsula and several Russian regions.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces fought 70 close-quarters battles along the entire front line, the General Staff of the Ukrainian military said in its daily report early on January 30. Ukrainian defenders repelled repeated Russian attacks in eight hot spots in the east, the military said.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on January 29 warned that Ukraine’s gains over two years of fighting invading Russian troops were all in doubt without new U.S. funding, as NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg visited to lobby Congress.
Tens of billions of dollars in aid has been sent to Ukraine since the invasion in February 2022, but Republican lawmakers have grown reluctant to keep supporting Kyiv, saying it lacks a clear end game as the fighting against President Vladimir Putin’s forces grinds on.
Blinken offered an increasingly dire picture of Ukraine’s prospects without U.S. approval of the so-called supplemental funding amid reports that some progress was being made on the matter late on January 29.
In Brussels, European Union leaders will restate their determination to continue to provide “timely, predictable, and sustainable military support” to Ukraine at a summit on February 1, according to draft conclusions of the meeting.
“The European Council also reiterates the urgent need to accelerate the delivery of ammunition and missiles,” the draft text, seen by Reuters, also says.