Russia hits key infrastructure with missiles across Ukraine
KYV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian missiles struck Ukraine on Thursday in the biggest wave of attacks in weeks, damaging power stations and other critical infrastructure during freezing weather.
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Russia fired 69 missiles at the energy facilities and Ukrainian forces shot down 54, said Gen. Valery Zaluzny, Ukraine’s military chief. Two individuals, according to local authorities, were killed in the attacks near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The attacks also wounded at least seven people nationwide, although the number of attacks was rising as authorities assessed the day’s events.
The Ukrainian air force said Russia sent explosive drones to selected areas overnight before widening the barrage with air- and sea-based missiles. The regional administration said air raid sirens sounded across the country and the military activated air defense systems in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said the attack damaged 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure in 10 regions.
Russia has attacked Ukrainian electricity and water supplies almost weekly since October, while its ground forces struggle to stay on the ground and advance. Mayor Vitali Klitschko urged people to store water and charge their electronic gadgets as he issued a power outage warning for the nation’s capital.
In Bortnichy, in the southeastern Kyiv district, an explosion leveled at least one house and broke doors, roofs and windows of several other nearby houses.
Yana Denisenko looked through broken glass inside her grandparents’ house to collect personal items. Although she does not live there, she came soon after the explosion and found her injured mother, sister and 14-year-old niece in an ambulance.
Denisenko hugged his crying grandmother, Ehelina, who was at work when the explosion occurred.
“I’m scared to see all this, how many mothers are crying?” Anhelina said. “” I want my children to be well.
Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, described the attacks as “senseless vandalism.”
“There can be no ‘neutrality’ in the face of such mass war crimes. Pretending to be ‘neutral’ equates to taking sides with Russia,” tweeted Kuleba.
After more than 10 months of fighting, Russia and Ukraine are locked in a serious battle of attrition. The Ukrainian military has reclaimed Russian-occupied land in the country’s northeast and south, and it continues to fend off Russian attempts to annex the whole industrial Donbass area in the country’s east.
Moscow also targeted Ukraine’s vital infrastructure, including its power plants, to weaken its resolve and push it to bargain on Russian terms. However, the interval between assaults has grown in recent weeks, leading some experts to surmise that Russia is attempting to cut back on its missile stock.
The Ukrainian military has reported success in shooting down incoming Russian missiles and explosive drones in earlier attacks, but many cities have been left without heat, internet and electricity for hours or days.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal said several energy facilities had been damaged during the 10th such large-scale attack on his country.
Schmihl stated in a Telegram post that “Russia is trying to rob Ukrainians of the light before the New Year.” Emergency blackouts “in some locations” may be required, he continued.
About 90% of Lviv was without electricity, Mayor Andrey Sadovy wrote on Telegram. Trams and trolley buses were not working, and residents may experience water interruptions, he said.
The Odessa Regional Government, most of the southern city of Odessa and surrounding areas were left without power. Maxim Marchenko said in a video statement on Thursday evening. Ukrainian air defense systems shot down 21 Russian missiles, he said, but few hit infrastructure.
A Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile reportedly touched down in Belarusian territory early on Thursday, according to a Telegram channel connected to the Belarusian presidential press office. There may have been an error in the missile’s course, it was added, and there were no deaths.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry later said the missile was downed by the Belarusian Air Defense over the western Brest region and fell in a field, according to a statement carried by the state Belta news agency.
Belarus, a close ally of Russia, served as a staging ground for Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
In order to “strongly protest,” the Belarusian Foreign Ministry summoned the Ukrainian ambassador and demanded that Ukraine “perform a thorough investigation” and “bring those involved accountable.”
In response, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that Kyiv was “ready to conduct an objective investigation” of the incident and to invite “authoritative experts” from abroad to participate in it, with a caveat that these experts should not be from those countries. Those who do not support Russia should come. ,
The United States said this month it would deliver Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine to boost the country’s defense. The US and other allies also pledged to provide energy-related equipment to Ukraine to help it withstand attacks on its infrastructure.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russia was aiming to “destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse”.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kuleba said Monday that his country wants a “peace” summit at the United Nations within two months with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as mediator. He said Russia should face a war-crimes tribunal before it can negotiate directly with Moscow, but other countries should feel free to engage with the Russians.
Commenting on the summit proposal on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed it as “illusory” and “hollow”, describing the proposal as a “publicity stunt by Washington that portrays the Kyiv regime as a peacemaker”.
Russian officials have said any peace plan can proceed only with Kyiv’s recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over territories illegally annexed from Ukraine in September.
The 10-point peace plan, first presented at the group’s summit on November 20 in Bali, includes the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression and Guarantee of security for Ukraine.
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