- Russia launched missile attacks on Ukraine, killing at least six civilians.
- This is the first mass attack in weeks.
- The attack also brought down some electrical infrastructure.
Russia launched a massive wave of missile attacks across Ukraine while people were sleeping on Thursday, killing at least six civilians, knocking out electricity and briefly knocking Europe’s largest nuclear power plant off the grid. kicked out
The first such mass attack on targets far from the front since mid-February marked the longest lull since Moscow launched an air campaign against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure five months ago. Kiev said it included an unprecedented six Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missiles, one of Moscow’s most valuable weapons.
President Volodymyr Zelensky described the infrastructure and residential attacks in a statement, saying, “The occupiers can only terrorize civilians. That’s all they can do. But that won’t help them. Buildings in ten regions.”
Russia’s defense ministry said it had launched a “massive retaliatory strike” in retaliation for a cross-border attack last week. It claimed to have destroyed all of its intended targets, destroying drone bases, disrupting railways, and damaging weapons manufacturing and repair facilities.
Villagers in Zolochiv, in Ukraine’s western Lviv region, place a body in a black plastic bag on top of the rubble of a brick house completely destroyed by a missile. He, along with two other men, placed the body in the back of a white van, which killed at least five people. A dog lay curled up on a carpet in the ruins.
Oksana Ostapenko said the house belonged to her sister Halina, whose body was still buried under the rubble along with two other family members.
“They still haven’t found him. We were hoping that he is alive. But, he is not,” she said.
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Another civilian death was reported by missiles in the Central Dnipro region. Three civilians were reported killed separately by artillery in Kherson.
Moscow says its campaign against targets far from the front that began in October aims to reduce Ukraine’s fighting ability. Kiev says the airstrikes have no military purpose and are intended to harm and intimidate civilians, a war crime.
In the capital Kiev, the seven-hour alert through the night was the longest of Russia’s five-month air campaign.
“I heard a loud bang, very loud,” said 58-year-old Lyudmila. “We quickly got out of bed and saw a car on fire. Then other cars caught fire as well. The glass on the balcony and windows were shattered.” ” A child in her arms near wrecked cars on a Kiev street.
“The girl got scared and jumped out of bed,” he said. “How can they do this? How is this possible? They are not human.”
Moscow confirmed it had used hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in Thursday’s attack. Ukrainian officials said it was the first time they had encountered so many weapons that Ukraine had no way of killing them.
Russia is believed to have only a few dozen Kinzhals, which fly at several times the speed of sound and are built to carry nuclear warheads with ranges of more than 2,000 km. In his speeches, President Vladimir Putin regularly presents the Kinzhal as a weapon for which NATO has no answer.
Ukraine said the attacks had also knocked out the power supply to Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, disconnecting it from the Ukrainian grid and forcing it on emergency diesel power to prevent a meltdown. It was later reconnected to Ukraine’s energy grid, operator Ukrainergo said.
The plant, which Russia has held since capturing it at the start of the war, is near the front line and both sides have warned in the past about the potential for disaster. Moscow said it was safe.
“The plant’s specialists are working quite professionally, automation has begun,” said Renat Karcha, an advisor to the CEO of Russian state nuclear power operator Rosengoatom. “There is no threat or danger of a nuclear incident.”
UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi appealed for a safety zone around the plant.
Grossi told the board of governors of the 35 countries of the IAEA, “Every time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue over and over again, one day our fortunes will shine.”
Kiev, the Black Sea port of Odessa and the second largest city Kharkiv were all affected. Officials said the targets stretched from Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia and Rivne in the west to Dnipro and Poltava in central Ukraine.
On the battlefield, the week has seen a marked change as Ukraine decides to fight in Bakhmut, a small town that has borne the brunt of the Russian winter offensive in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
Moscow says Bakhmut is strategically important as a key war objective to secure the surrounding Donbass region. The West says the ruined city has no value and that Russian generals have sacrificed their lives to give Putin his only victory since sending hundreds of thousands of reservists into battle late last year.
Ukraine’s withdrawal from Bakhmut appeared likely, but commanders now say they are causing enough damage to Russia’s invading forces to justify staying and fighting.
“Each day of the city’s defense allows us to gain time to build up reserves and prepare for future offensive operations,” said Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces. “The enemy loses the most ready and combat-capable part of his army.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner private army that led the fighting in Bakhmut, said on Wednesday that his forces controlled the entire town east of a river through it.
Moscow, which claims to annex a fifth of Ukraine, says it launched its “special military operation” a year ago to deal with the security threat. Kiev and the West call it an unprovoked war to subjugate an independent state.
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