Russia targeted Kharkiv TV tower moments before Zelenskyy-Biden call

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, April 22, 2024
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, April 22, 2024

Russia targeted a TV tower in Kharkiv shortly before a scheduled conversation between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden on April 22, according to Zelenskyy’s evening address.

"Just before my call with President Biden, Russian forces struck the TV tower in Kharkiv again," Zelenskyy stated. "This blatant act of intimidation was meant to terrorize the city and disrupt our communications and information access. We are urgently working to restore the signal."

Read also: Russian strike breaks Kharkiv TV tower in half – Video

Zelenskyy emphasized that cities like Kharkiv urgently require more air defense systems, including Patriot missile systems, to better protect Ukraine’s skies. He outlined four critical needs: "sky defense, modern artillery, long-range capabilities, and the expedited delivery of U.S. support packages."

Ukraine’s call for more air defense systems

Despite repeated requests, Western allies have been reluctant to supply Ukraine with the significant number of Patriot systems it needs. "Although they have more than 100, they do not want to give us five or seven Patriots," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba noted on April 3.

Read also: How Kharkiv's 1.3 million citizens stay strong amid relentless Russian attacks - Kharkiv Governor speaks to NV

25 Patriot systems or their equivalents are needed to fully protect Ukraine's airspace from Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on April 6.

The urgency for more air defenses was underscored by the April 17 strike in Chernihiv, which resulted in 18 fatalities. "These tragic losses could have been avoided if we had sufficient air defense systems," Zelenskyy remarked.

EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell echoed this sentiment at a G7 foreign ministers' meeting on April 18, urging EU states to bolster Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

Helmut Rauch, CEO of Diehl Defence, confirmed on April 18 that Ukraine is set to receive the new IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft missile system within weeks.

Read also: Russia’s ongoing assaults on Kharkiv aim to drive residents out, Bloomberg reports

The commitment to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense was reiterated by G7 foreign ministers during their recent meeting in Italy.

Furthermore, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on the evening of April 20, approving over $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. The bill is slated for Senate consideration on April 23 and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden thereafter.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine