Ukraine endangering own civilians – Russia 

Malfunctioning air defense missiles, not Russian strikes, are to blame for residential deaths, Ambassador Nebenzia told the UN

Ukraine deploying Western-provided air defense systems in residential areas leads to civilian casualties when they malfunction and hit innocents, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Friday.

Officials in Kiev have accused Moscow of killing 30 civilians and injuring at least 160 more during the 18-hour barrage of drones and missiles across the country, earlier in the day. 

“There is only one solution – Russia must be deprived of its ability to produce weapons, to finance its military aggression and to threaten the world,” said Ukrainian envoy Sergey Kislitsa. He went on to accuse Russia of “rocket terrorism” against civilians. 

Kislitsa was backed by the British representative, who said that the death toll would have been greater if not for the work of the Ukrainian air defenses.

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“It is difficult to imagine greater cynicism,” Nebenzia said in response. “If not for the work of the Ukrainian air defense, there would have been no civilian casualties.”

The Russian envoy said there are plenty of videos available online that show “how Russian missiles and drones are striking military sites and depots, causing distinctive detonation, while Ukrainian anti-raid missiles are missing their targets or veering off course and falling on residential buildings and [other] civilian sites.” 

Nebenzia further argued that fragments of projectiles are causing damage in civilian areas “only because [Ukrainian] air defense systems are posted there.” 

During the meeting, which was broadcast live, Nebenzia held up a sheet of paper with a QR code linking to a video he said was proof of his claims. 

According to the transcript from the website of Russia’s mission to the UN, the link leads to a video that shows a burning projectile crashing into a high-rise residential building.

Ukraine described Friday’s airstrikes as the biggest since the conflict escalated in February 2022, with damage reported in Kiev, as well as the regions of Kharkov, Lviv, Sumy, and Odessa, among others. The Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down most of the incoming missiles and drones.

The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged the strikes, describing their intended targets as “defense industry sites, military airfield infrastructure and depots for the storage of artillery munitions, naval drones, arms and fuel for military vehicles,” as well as Ukrainian troop positions.

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