Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 22.
Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 22. (Stringer/Reuters)

Russia unleashed a wave of deadly attacks on towns and cities across Ukraine on Wednesday as Chinese leader Xi Jinping departed from Moscow following talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Xi left Russia’s capital pledging to deepen ties with Putin but the meetings failed to achieve a breakthrough on Ukraine.

As Xi flew back to Beijing, Russia’s military launched a barrage of strikes with Iran-made Shahed drones on Ukraine’s Kyiv region, killing at least eight people, according to Ukrainian authorities. Andrii Niebytov, the Kyiv region’s police chief, said seven others were injured when a drone struck a dormitory building in the town of Rzhyshchiv.

In the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, at least one person was killed and 34 injured — including two children — after Russian missiles hit apartment blocks, in what has been described as a “deliberate strike” to “kill civilians,” according to senior Ukrainian official and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.

Video of the attack shows an explosion blasting through the side of two nine-story residential buildings.

The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said in a statement at least six missiles hit the city, causing extensive damage.

“One of the missiles hit between two high-rise buildings, partially destroying apartments and balconies, damaging roofs and breaking windows,” the statement said. “The blast wave and debris also damaged other nearby residential buildings, cars and other civilian infrastructure in the city.”

Xi’s trip fails to create path to peace: Wednesday’s wave of attacks in Ukraine came as Putin wrapped up hosting his Chinese counterpart in Moscow following a three-day state visit billed by Beijing as a peace mission, but which failed to achieve any breakthrough on resolving the conflict.

Both leaders called for the cessation of actions that “increase tensions” and “prolong” the war, according to their joint statement released by China’s Foreign Ministry. The statement did not acknowledge that Russia’s invasion and military assault were the cause of ongoing violence and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

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