(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine said the death toll in a Russian missile attack on a northern city had risen to 17 as Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized his country’s partners for failing to provide sufficient protection against such strikes.

The Ukrainian president has stepped up calls for more air defense as Kremlin troops exploit Ukraine’s weakness in order to hit targets across the country. At least 61 people are now known to be wounded in Wednesday’s attack on the city of Chernihiv, the Interior Ministry said on Telegram.

“This wouldn’t have happened, if Ukraine had received enough air defense equipment and if the world’s resolve to counter the Russian terror had also been sufficient,” Zelenskiy said on Telegram.

Ukraine is struggling to fend off military pressure from Russia in the face of a lack of ammunition with a US aid package stuck in Congress amid internal political maneuvering in Washington. Kyiv also faces an increasing manpower shortage at the front.

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Zelenskiy said later on Wednesday he had spoken with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, stressing that Ukraine needed “immediate steps to strengthen its air defense.” A meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council on the level of defense ministers will be held on Friday, he said on social media platform X.

Three Russian missiles hit close to the center of Chernihiv this morning, damaging apartment buildings and dozens of cars, regional Governor Vyacheslav Chaus said on local television. The strike occurred close to a busy intersection, which is usually full of traffic and pedestrians, according to Oleksandr Lomako, acting mayor of the city of nearly 300,000 people.

While Vladimir Putin’s forces regularly shell the surrounding region that borders on Russia, missile barrages against the provincial capital, about 127 kilometers (79 miles) north of Kyiv, have been rare. Ukraine has been reinforcing its fortifications in the area to frustrate any potential new Russian invasion. 

As rescuers in Chernihiv searched through the debris for missing people, the governor of the Odesa region said Russian forces had staged another attack, just a week after a strike against the Black Sea city left six people dead. No casualties have been reported this time as regional infrastructure was targeted, Oleh Kiper said on Telegram.

--With assistance from Olesia Safronova.

(Updates death toll in first paragraph, adds discussion with NATO in fifth paragraph.)

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