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American missile hit Ukraine apartment block and injured civilians

Ukrainian fighter jets - Anadolu Agency
Ukrainian fighter jets - Anadolu Agency

An American-made missile fired by Ukrainian forces hit an apartment block and wounded three civilians in the eastern part of the country, after it apparently careered off-course.

In what appears to be the first reported instance of US-supplied weapons injuring Ukrainians during the conflict, an AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, which was fired from a fighter jet, struck an apartment block in Kramatorsk, part of the Donbas region.

Fragments of the missile were recovered in the debris of the Sept 26 strike by New York Times journalists and verified as being American-made.

Ukraine’s reliance on foreign weapons has, at times, caused difficulties. The country’s Soviet-era MiG fighters had to be adapted to fire the AGM-88, because they were not originally designed to fire the missile.

As such, it appears that the missile either went astray or malfunctioned as Ukrainian pilots targeted Russian radar and air-defence systems outside the city.

“Three people got wounded, they say. No dead. It hit the apartment where no one lives, and in the next one, people got hurt,” Olga Vasylivna, a resident who lived adjacent to where the missile hit, told the New York Times.

The new findings come just over a week since a rogue missile flew over the border into Poland, killing two people.

Reports suggest that it was a Ukrainian air defence missile that was trying to resist a Russian barrage and had gone off-course, though Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, says he has “no doubt” that the missile was Russian.

Rishi Sunak, the White House and Nato said Russia was to blame for the two deaths even if it was ultimately confirmed to be a stray Ukrainian missile, arguing it would never have been fired had it not been for the Russian bombardment across Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the US authorised an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, which will include weapons, munitions and air defence equipment.

The Pentagon said the package included additional munitions for NASAMS air defence systems and for high mobility artillery rocket systems.

The Biden administration has now provided $19.7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since the invasion by Russia in February.