Ukraine says it shot down “about 15” Russian cruise missiles aimed at Kyiv overnight military officials said Tuesday, hours before European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in the capital.
“No hits were made, with no casualties and no serious damage caused by falling debris,” Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv military administration, said on Telegram.
Russia’s missile attack took place shortly before von der Leyen arrived by train in Kyiv, which the Commission chief is visiting Tuesday for the fifth time since the beginning of the war.
“Good to be back in Kyiv. Where the values we hold dear are defended everyday,” von der Leyen tweeted upon getting off the train which had taken her to the Ukrainian capital.
Von der Leyen will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal for discussions on ammunition production, financial support, the EU’s new sanctions plans and Ukraine’s grain exports through solidarity lanes, officials told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.
Her fifth trip is rife with symbolism: It is meant to celebrate Europe Day, which Ukraine will now also mark on May 9.
Meanwhile, from Moscow’s Red Square, Russian President Vladimir Putin will attempt to obscure the absence of recent success for Russian troops on the battlefield in Ukraine by displaying a facade of strength during the annual Victory Day military parade, which celebrates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
The parade, which was not canceled despite an alleged drone attack targeting the Kremlin last week, will be attended by a handful of Moscow’s top allies, with the presidents of Turkmenistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the prime minister of Armenia having confirmed their presence, state news agency TASS reported Tuesday.
Russia’s overnight attacks on Kyiv were an attempt by Russian forces to “try to kill as many civilians as possible” on Victory Day, said the head of the city’s military administration. The barrage was “a manifestation of the real cult of ‘Victory,’” Popko said.