NATO Ally Scrambles Fighter Jets Amid Russia’s Deadliest Attack of 2024

Poland scrambled fighter jets to protect its airspace on Monday as Russia launched its deadliest attack of the year against Ukraine, firing a barrage of missiles across the country.

The jets were launched after Russian aircraft “again started firing missiles at Ukraine,” the Polish Air Force said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Warsaw has been forced to scramble its fighter jets on multiple occasions throughout the war as part of measures to protect its airspace during large-scale Russian missile strikes on Ukraine. Poland has said that Russian missiles fired at western Ukraine entered its airspace several times. Moscow has said incursions were accidental.

Mikoyan MIG-29 fighter jets
Mikoyan MIG-29 fighter jets of the Polish Air Force on October 12, 2022 in Lask, Poland. Warsaw scrambled fighter jets to protect its airspace on Monday as Russia launched its deadliest attack of the year…

Omar Marques/Getty Images

“All necessary procedures were initiated to ensure the safety of Polish airspace,” the air force said. “In the southeastern part of the country, there may be increased noise levels related to the operation of Polish and allied military aviation in our area.”

“The Operational Command of the Armed Forces monitors the situation on an ongoing basis and is ready to immediately respond to threats,” it added.

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment by email.

Ukrainian officials said Monday that at least 30 people were killed in Russian strikes nationwide.

The Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Ukraine’s capital was struck, damaging its intensive care, operating and oncology departments, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said.

“Different cities: Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk. More than 40 missiles of various types. Residential buildings, infrastructure and a children’s hospital were damaged,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said of the attack.

Zelensky said in a statement on his social media channels that people were trapped under rubble at Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital.

“Right now, everyone is helping to clear the rubble—doctors and ordinary people,” the Ukrainian leader wrote.

“Russia cannot claim ignorance of where its missiles are flying and must be held fully accountable for all its crimes. Against people, against children, against humanity in general,” he added.

Kyiv’s Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko told Reuters that the strike on the children’s hospital was “one of the worst attacks” on the city since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), an international humanitarian aid organization, condemned the attack in an emailed statement to Newsweek.

“No child should grow up under the threat of missile strikes,” Marko Isajlovic, IRC health coordinator in Ukraine, said. “No child should risk dying amidst the rubble of hospitals meant to be safe havens for healing and recovery. Health facilities are protected under international law and must remain out of harm’s way in times of conflict.”

Russia has not commented on the attacks, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that President Vladimir Putin “is a staunch supporter of the preferableness [sic] of political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the Ukrainian conflict.”

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