Zelenskyy vows to make battlefield ‘more painful’ for Russian forces after another day of deadly rocket strikes on Ukraine

Zelenskyy vows to make battlefield 'more painful' for Russian forces after another day of deadly rocket strikes on Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was defiant as he vowed to make the battlefield “more painful” for Russian troops after another deadly day of rockets raining down on Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president said air defence was the “number one priority” after thousands of people spent Monday in bomb shelters as explosions erupted in cities across the country.

‘Terrorists must be neutralised’ – Ukraine war latest updates

At least 14 people were killed and 97 injured in attacks on Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr and elsewhere.

Vladimir Putin said the strikes were in retaliation for its “terrorist action” against Russian territory – the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea – but Ukraine has rejected this claim of “provocation”.

“We will do everything to strengthen our armed forces,” President Zelenskyy said in his nightly address. “We will make the battlefield more painful for the enemy.”

“Now the occupiers are not capable of opposing us on the battlefield already, that is why they resort to this terror,” he said on Telegram.

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In a call with the Ukrainian leader, Joe Biden reiterated that the US will provide advanced air defence systems.

It comes after the Pentagon said on 27 September that it would start delivering the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) over the next two months or so.

Former Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, told Sky News that “critical infrastructure” were among Russia’s key targets in Monday’s strikes and that Ukraine is expecting some blackouts as a result, putting hospitals in “jeopardy”.

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Putin exacts revenge on Ukraine

President Putin has said the strikes were retaliation for the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge, which links occupied Crimea to Russia.

The Russian leader has blamed the damage on Ukrainian special forces, but Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the blast.

Whoever was responsible, the attack is set to further squeeze Russian logistics and supply lines amid speculation that Kremlin forces will soon be down to their last supplies of fuel and unable to transport their troops.

The strike on the bridge came after months of Ukrainian forces using HIMARS rocket attacks to degrade Russian logistics, hitting ammunition stores and transport networks.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, is set to deliver a speech saying that Russia is running out of weapons for its war against Ukraine and the costs to the Kremlin are “staggering” in terms of soldiers and equipment lost.

He will say that Ukrainian armed forces are “turning the tide” on the physical battlefield as well as in cyberspace,