Russia has killed eight people, including two children on Friday, in its latest aerial attack on Ukraine, as Kyiv, for the first time downed Russian strategic bomber.

Russian strikes on Ukraine in the early hours of Friday killed at least eight people, including two children, as Kyiv said it shot down a Russian strategic bomber for the first time.

Moscow said a military plane had crashed over the south of the country while returning to base from a combat mission after suffering a technical malfunction.

The downing of a Russian bomber used to fire cruise missiles at Ukraine would be a highly symbolic win for Kyiv, which has been pounded by hundreds of overnight Russian aerial strikes since Moscow invaded more than two years ago.

The latest overnight Russian strikes on the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region killed at least eight people and injured more than a dozen, officials said.

The head of the region Sergiy Lysak said medics had been able to save a six-year-old boy earlier reported killed, revising down an earlier toll of nine killed.

Strikes hit the region’s Synelnykivsky area, where at least two children — aged six and eight — were among those killed, and the regional capital of Dnipro, the interior ministry said.

Life-saving air defence

Ukraine’s railway operator said train facilities were targeted in the attack and that seven employees were among those wounded. A female member of staff — survived by two teenage children — was killed, they added.

President Volodymyr Zelensky in response to the strike repeated calls for Ukraine’s Western allies to more supply air defence systems.

He also announced he had visited troops and inspected fortifications in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian forces have steadily gained ground.

In Washington, the US House of Representatives is gearing up for a crucial weekend vote on a long-stalled $61 billion package of military aid that could deliver much-needed weapons to Ukraine.

In a boost for their forces, Kyiv said it had downed a Russian long-range strategic bomber during a combat mission for the first time.

Shot down

Russian officials said the plane crashed over the southern Stavropol region. They said the pilots had ejected but that at least one member of the crew had died.

Stavropol governor Vladimir Vladimirov said two crew members had been taken to a local medical centre.

The plane crashed in the region’s Krasnogvardeysky district, the governor said — around 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the eastern edge of the annexed Crimean peninsula.

The main intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s defence ministry said it “was shot down at a distance of about 300 kilometres from Ukraine. As a result of the hit, the bomber was able to fly to the Stavropol area, where it crashed.”

Ukraine’s air force said Friday that Russia had launched 22 missiles and 14 Iranian-designed attack drones overnight — including from the downed strategic bomber.

It said all the unmanned aerial vehicles were downed as well as 15 missiles.

A missile attack on the northern city of Chernigiv left 18 dead earlier this week.

Ania Tsoukanova, with AFP