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Russian drones struck several regions across Ukraine overnight, including Kharkiv, where four people died and 12 were injured after two residential buildings were hit in an attack President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called “despicable.

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Ukraine’s General Staff said 20 drones had struck during the night and into the morning on April 4 and that 11 were disrupted by air-defense forces.

Hours after the attack, Zelenskiy wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the Kharkiv incident, in which one civilian woman was killed in an initial drone strike and three rescue workers were killed by a second strike in the same area, was “a despicable and cynical attack.”

Zelenskiy added that Kyiv was working with “partners to strengthen the protection of our cities and villages,” saying that “strengthening Ukraine’s air-defense capabilities directly translates into saving lives.”

Speaking in Brussels at a NATO meeting on the day the military alliance is celebrating its 75th anniversary, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke of the need for Patriot missiles to defend Ukraine from attack.

“I don’t want to spoil the party,” Kuleba said after congratulating NATO members on the anniversary, “but my main message today will be Patriots.”

“Saving Ukrainian lives, saving the Ukrainian economy, saving Ukrainian cities, depends on the availability of Patriots and other air-defense systems in Ukraine. We’re talking about Patriots because it’s the only system that can intercept ballistic missiles,” he added.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov published photographs on Telegram showing damage to a 14-floor apartment building, as well as damaged emergency vehicles.

Yevhen Vasylenko, a spokesman for the State Emergency Service, told RFE/RL that rescue workers were attempting to save people trapped in a smaller building nearby.

“Under the rubble, there were people who needed help,” Vasylenko said. “Rescuers immediately arrived at the scene and during the rescue operations, the enemy struck again with drones.”

He added that rescuers were able to save one civilian trapped under the debris.

“Usually rescue workers take shelter if there is the threat of a second strike,” Vasylenko said. “But today, a person was under the rubble and needed help, so it was necessary to act immediately.”

Three emergency vehicles were reported damaged in the Kharkiv incident.

Police reported drone strikes in the Kharkiv region cities of Lozova and Zmiyiv that damaged residential buildings and vehicles. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In Zmiyiv, the Energy Ministry reported that a power plant had been damaged. The ministry also said a solar power plant in the Dnipropetrovsk region had been damaged by Russian shelling.

Explosions were reported in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya in the morning on April 4.

On April 2, a suspected Ukrainian drone strike in Russia’s Tatarstan region, more than 1,000 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, targeted an industrial area where Iranian-made Shahed drones are reportedly assembled. Tatarstan leader Rustam Minnikhanov on April 3 warned local enterprises that they must defend themselves against possible air strikes.

“You mustn’t wait until air defenses start operating to resolve your problems,” he said. “We must resolve them with our own resources – every enterprise, every town, every city.”

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War wrote on April 3 that Russia could be intensifying drone and missile strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, particularly its energy grid, “to further pressure the Ukrainian command to deploy air-defense systems away from the front.”

Russia denies targeting civilians since the beginning of its full-scale invasion in February 2022, but Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure are regularly hit by missile and drone attacks. In February, a consortium of Ukrainian and international aid organizations reported that at least 10,500 Ukrainian civilians had been killed by “constant bombardments, mines, and drone attacks” over the previous two years.


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