U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged continued support for Kyiv in the wake of a massive wave of deadly Russian air strikes and vowed to hold Russia accountable for what he called “its war crimes and atrocities.”
In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Biden “expressed his condemnation of Russia’s missile strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, and conveyed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks,” the White House said in a statement on October 10.
“President Biden pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems.”
In an earlier statement, Biden said that the strikes demonstrated the “utter brutality” of the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The United States strongly condemns Russia’s missile strikes today across Ukraine, including in Kyiv. These attacks killed and injured civilians and destroyed targets with no military purpose. They once again demonstrate the utter brutality of Mr. Putin’s illegal war on the Ukrainian people,” Biden said in a statement.
The Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and urban residential areas — the most punishing in months — hit major cities across the country, including Kyiv, killing at least 19 people and wounding 105, according to Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry.
Russia launched 83 missiles at Ukraine, of which more than 43 were shot down, Kyiv said.
During his call with Biden, Ukraine stressed that air defense was the “No. 1 priority in our defense cooperation,” Zelenskiy said on Telegram.
WATCH: Ukraine has reported dozens of missile strikes across its territory, including the capital, Kyiv, in a significant escalation of Russian attacks.
Following the latest escalation in Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders plan to hold a video call with Zelenskiy later on October 11.
Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter that Washington should also show leadership on a tough stance by the G7 and on support for a condemnation of Russia by the United Nations General Assembly.
During an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly that came just hours after the Russian strikes, Ukraine’s ambassador on October 10 denounced Russia as a “terrorist state.”
“Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” Ambassador Serhiy Kyslytsya said.
The UN had scheduled the October 10 meeting to discuss a draft resolution condemning Russia’s recent annexation of four Ukrainian territories, a violation of international law.
But the session was soon dominated by Western condemnation of Russia’s decision to launch more than 80 missiles at Ukrainian cities in retaliation for what Moscow has called Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions, including a blast that damaged a key route for delivering supplies and reinforcements to Russian forces fighting in southern Ukraine.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the strikes as an “unacceptable escalation of the war” by Russia.
The EU said a war crime had been committed, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Moscow stood for terror and brutality.
The 193-member UN General Assembly decided on October 10 to hold a public vote, rather than a secret ballot, on a draft resolution that would condemn Russia’s “illegal so-called referenda” held in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya regions, as well as Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of the territories.
Diplomats said the vote on the resolution would likely be held on October 12.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a video call with members of Russia’s Security Council, said the October 10 strikes were retaliation for what he called Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions, including the October 8 blast that damaged the 19-kilometer-long Crimea Bridge, a prominent symbol of Russia’s control over Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.
Putin said more such Russian strikes could be expected. “Let there be no doubt,” Putin said. “If attempts at terrorist attacks continue, the response from Russia will be severe.”
Russia has said, without providing any evidence, that the suspected truck bombing was an act of terrorism carried out by the Ukrainian special services. Ukraine has not taken credit for the incident.
Kyiv, which has retaken large swaths of Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine’s south and east in recent weeks, has ruled out negotiations with Putin, saying that Russia is making unacceptable demands and that Putin’s actions have made talks impossible.