Russia unleashed a deadly barrage of strikes in opposition to a number of Ukrainian cities Monday, smashing civilian targets together with downtown Kyiv the place no less than eight folks have been killed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated the strikes have been retaliation for what he known as Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions, together with an assault final weekend on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula that’s prized by the Kremlin.
The extraordinary, hours-long assault marked a sudden navy escalation by Moscow. It got here a day after Putin known as the explosion Saturday on the large bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea a “terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian particular providers.
Not less than eight folks have been killed and 24 have been injured in simply one of many Kyiv strikes, based on preliminary info, stated Rostyslav Smirnov, an adviser to the Ukrainian ministry of inside affairs.
Putin, talking in a video name with members of Russia’s Safety Council, stated the Russian navy launched “precision weapons” from the air, sea and floor to focus on key power and navy command amenities.
However the sustained barrage on main cities hit residential areas and important infrastructure amenities alike, portending a serious surge within the conflict amid a profitable Ukrainian counteroffensive in latest weeks.
Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine is approaching its eight-month milestone, and the Kremlin has been reeling from humiliating battlefield setbacks in areas of japanese Ukraine it’s making an attempt to annex.
Blasts struck within the capital’s Shevchenko district, a big space within the heart of Kyiv that features the historic outdated city in addition to a number of authorities workplaces, Mayor Vitali Klitschko stated.
A few of the strikes hit close to the federal government quarter within the symbolic coronary heart of the capital, the place Parliament and different main landmarks are positioned. A glass tower housing workplaces was considerably broken, most of its blue-tinted home windows blown out.
Residents have been seen on the streets with blood on their garments and palms. A younger man sporting a blue jacket sat on the bottom as a medic wrapped a bandage round his head. A girl with bandages wrapped round her head had blood all around the entrance of her shirt. A number of automobiles have been additionally broken or fully destroyed. Air raid sirens sounded repeatedly throughout the nation and in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated Russian forces launched dozens of missiles and Iranian-built drones in opposition to Ukraine.
The Normal Workers of the Ukraine Armed Forces stated 75 missiles have been fired in opposition to Ukrainian targets, with 41 of them neutralized by air defenses.
The targets have been civilian areas and power amenities in 10 cities, Zelenskyy stated in a video deal with. “(The Russians) selected such a time and such targets on goal to inflict probably the most harm,” Zelenskyy stated.
The morning strikes despatched Kyiv residents again into bomb shelters for the primary time in months. The town’s subway system stopped practice providers and made the stations out there as soon as extra as locations for refuge.
Whereas air raid sirens have continued all through the conflict in Ukraine’s main cities throughout the nation, in Kyiv and different areas the place there have been months of calm many Ukrainians had begun to disregard their warnings and go about their regular enterprise.
That modified on Monday morning. The assaults arrived in Kyiv at first of the morning rush hour, when commuter site visitors was starting to select up. Not less than one of many autos struck close to the Kyiv Nationwide College seemed to be a commuter minibus, referred to as a “marshrutka” and which is a well-liked albeit typically crowded various to the town’s bus and metro routes.
Close by, no less than one strike landed within the fashionable Shevchenko Park, leaving a big gap close to a youngsters’s playground.
Among the many targets hit was a pedestrian bridge referred to as the Klitschko bridge — a landmark in central Kyiv with its glass panels. Closed-circuit tv footage shared by an adviser to Ukraine’s inside minister confirmed an enormous explosion because the bridge was apparently focused. A person seen on the bridge simply earlier than the explosion is seen operating away after the blast.
Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, tweeted a photograph exhibiting that no less than one explosion occurred close to the primary constructing of the Kyiv Nationwide College in central Kyiv.
Elsewhere, Russia focused civilian areas and power infrastructure as air raid sirens sounded in each area of Ukraine, besides Russia-annexed Crimea, for 4 straight hours.
Related Press journalists in Dnipro metropolis noticed the our bodies of a number of folks killed at an industrial web site on the town’s outskirts. Home windows within the space had been blown out and glass littered the road. A telecommunications constructing was hit.
Ukrainian media additionally reported explosions in a lot of different places, together with the western metropolis of Lviv, which has been a refuge for many individuals fleeing the combating within the east, in addition to in Kharkiv, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr and Kropyvnytskyi.
Kharkiv was hit thrice, Mayor Ihor Terekhov stated. The strikes knocked out the electrical energy and water provide. Vitality infrastructure was additionally hit in Lviv, regional Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi stated.
Three cruise missiles launched in opposition to Ukraine from Russian ships within the Black Sea crossed Moldova’s airspace, the nation’s Overseas Affairs Minister Nicu Popescu complained.
A day earlier, Putin had known as the assault on the Kerch Bridge to Crimea a terrorist act carried out by Ukrainian particular providers. In a gathering Sunday with the chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Putin stated “there’s little doubt it was a terrorist act directed on the destruction of critically vital civilian infrastructure.”
The Kerch Bridge is vital to Russia strategically, as a navy provide line to its forces in Ukraine, and symbolically, as an emblem of its claims on Crimea. Nobody has claimed accountability for damaging the 12-mile (19-kilometer) -long bridge, the longest in Europe.
Amid the onslaught, Zelenskyy stated on his Telegram account that Russia is “making an attempt to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth.”
The assaults appeared set to carry a contemporary bout of worldwide condemnation for Russia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, stated the Group of Seven industrial powers will maintain a videoconference Tuesday on the scenario which Zelenskyy will deal with. Germany at present chairs the G-7.
The assaults introduced a refrain of concern in Europe. French President Emanuel Macron expressed “excessive concern, because the strikes brought on civilian casualties” and renewed his pledge of extra navy support for Ukraine.
British Overseas Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that “Russia’s firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable.”
Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba broke off his Africa tour and headed again to Ukraine, tweeting that the assaults represented “terror on peaceable Ukrainian cities.”
Some feared Monday’s assaults may be the primary salvo in a renewed Russian offensive. Ukraine’s Ministry of Training introduced that each one colleges in Ukraine should change to on-line lessons no less than till the tip of this week.
In an ominous transfer, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko introduced Monday that he and Putin have agreed to deploy a joint “regional grouping of troops” amid the escalation of combating in Ukraine. He provided no particulars as to the place the grouping will probably be deployed, when and what for.
Lukashenko repeated his claims that Ukraine is plotting an assault on Belarus, sparking fears the stage is being set for preemptive motion by Minsk.
Sabra Ayres in Kyiv, Vasilisa Stepanenko in Kharkiv, and Justin Spike and Yesica Fisch in Dnipro, contributed to this story.