- Cruise missiles were fired at many cities – Ukrainian Air Force
- Ukraine shoots down 54 missiles out of 69
- Three people were wounded in the Kyiv mayor’s bombings
- Lavrov says Ukraine peace plan ‘illusion’
KYIV (Reuters) – Russia fired dozens of missiles into Ukraine early Thursday, targeting Kyiv and other cities including Lviv in the west and Odessa in the southwest, sending people rushing to shelters and cutting power to one of the country’s largest air power stations. in Moscow. assaults.
“Senseless barbarity. These are the only words that come to mind when you see Russia unleash another missile barrage on peaceful Ukrainian cities before the New Year,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
The Ukrainian military said it shot down 54 of the 69 missiles launched by Russia. Air raid sirens sounded all over Ukraine – for five hours in Kyiv.
“The shooting down of 54 missiles saved dozens of lives and protected key parts of our economic infrastructure,” Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in a tweet. “Every day of military success brings us closer to our victory.”
Officials had earlier said more than 120 rockets were fired during the attack.
Reuters footage showed a team of emergency workers inspecting the wreckage of residential homes in Kyiv destroyed by an explosion and rocket smoke in the sky.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, firefighters worked to put out a huge fire at a power station. In the south-central city of Zaporozhye, houses were damaged and a huge crater was left by a missile.
“I woke up to everything trembling, falling apart. I got up and shouted, Vitya, Vitya (my husband), where are you?” Halina, 60, a resident of the area, said, “I ran barefoot on glass, and the glass was falling from it.”
The Ukrainian military said that Russia has launched air-to-sea cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles and the S-300 ADMS system at energy infrastructure facilities in the eastern, central, western and southern regions. The attacks followed an attack by “kamikaze” drones overnight.
Waves of Russian air strikes in recent months targeting energy infrastructure have left millions without electricity and heating in often frigid temperatures.
Skill and competence
“The enemy has put a huge stake in this offensive, and has been preparing for it for two weeks. Ukraine’s air defense forces have shown an incredible level of skill and competence,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on the messaging app Telegram.
“At the same time, there have been injuries and damages, especially in power facilities. In some areas, emergency shutdowns may be applied to avoid accidents in the networks. Our power engineers are already working on fixing everything,” he added.
Kyiv authorities said two private homes in the Darnitsky district were damaged by shrapnel from the missiles, as well as a business and a playground. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 16 rockets were shot down and three people were injured in the attacks.
Lviv’s mayor, Andrzej Sadovy, said on Telegram that 90% of his city near the Polish border was without electricity. Missiles destroyed the power infrastructure unit.
The governor of the Odessa region said that fragments of a missile hit a residential building, although no injuries were reported.
Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying cities, towns, the country’s strength, medical and other infrastructure.
For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking Western countries for more help in the area of air defence.
Belarus protested to Ukraine’s ambassador after it said it had shot down a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile. Television footage released by Belarus’s state-run Belta news agency showed what appeared to be missile debris lying in a field.
And in Russia, a regional governor said air defenses shot down a drone near the Engels air base, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine and home to long-range strategic bombers. Russia says Ukraine has already tried to attack the base twice this month.
No peace talks
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor. Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as imperial-style land grabs.
Comprehensive sanctions were imposed on Russia because of the war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced millions from their homes, destroyed cities and shook the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.
There is still no prospect of talks to end the war.
Zelensky is aggressively pushing a 10-point peace plan that envisages Russia respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdrawing all its forces.
But Moscow rejected it on Wednesday, stressing that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of four regions – Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south. It also says Ukraine must accept losing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying Zelensky’s idea of expelling Russia from eastern Ukraine and Crimea with the help of the West and forcing Moscow to pay reparations was an “illusion”.
Additional reporting by the Reuters TV team in Zaporizhia and other Reuters offices written by Alexandra Hudson and Nick McPhee; Editing by Gareth Jones
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