Russia strikes hit Ukraine overnight as it marks 2nd anniversary of invasion

A barrage of Russian drones and missiles targeted Odesa overnight.

February 24, 2024, 5:26 AM

Russia, as it does many nights, has launched airstrikes on Ukraine overnight into Saturday morning, the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion in 2022.

A barrage of Russian drones and missiles targeted Odesa in the south, and at least one person and two others were seriously injured when a damaged drone crashed into a residential building.

Meanwhile in Kyiv, Western leaders have been arriving for events to mark the second anniversary and to show solidarity with Ukraine amid fears around faltering Western support, most of all from the United States.

The European Union’s president Ursula von der Leyen is attending events in Kyiv, as well as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the prime ministers of Belgium and Italy and the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s newly appointed Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskiy, has posted a statement marking the second anniversary of the war, hailing Ukrainians’ extraordinary defense of their country and calling for unity “now more than ever."

A local resident inspects a damaged residential building following a drone attack in Odesa on February 24, 2024, on the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images

"No one in the world” had believed Ukraine would stand but Ukrainians had thrown themselves into saving their country, said Syrskiy.

He also listed the achievements Ukraine has made during the two years of the war, including saving Kyiv, liberating Kherson, the Kharkiv counteroffensive and driving of Russia’s navy from the Black Sea.

He added that the counteroffensive last summer did not “bring the desired results” because of “objective circumstances."

Syrskiy also thanked Ukraine’s international allies, saying “every projectile, every tank, every armored vehicle, is ... saving the life of a Ukrainian soldier."

He also, notably, made a veiled reference to the unusually large number of Russian aircraft brought down in the past two weeks -- including the valuable A-50 reconnaissance plane brought down overnight -- implying specifically that Ukraine was looking at an “asymmetric response in the air."

“I believe that soon we will give an asymmetric response to the Russian occupier in the air as well. There will be even more burning Russian planes. The state leadership is doing everything possible for this,” Syrskiy said.

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