Six killed in Russian missile attack on Ukrainian cities | Russia-Ukraine War News

A barrage of more than 80 Russian missiles and a small number of exploding drones has hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across Ukraine, killing six people and leaving hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity.

The biggest such attack in three weeks put Europe’s biggest nuclear plant at risk by knocking it off the power grid for hours before reconnecting. Since nuclear plants require constant power to run cooling systems to avoid meltdown, the latest threat to the Zaporozhzhia plant raised the specter of a nuclear catastrophe again.

Air raid sirens sounded throughout the night as attacks targeted a wide swath of the country, including western Ukraine, which is far from the front lines. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack was an attempt by Moscow to “scare the Ukrainian people again” while many people were sleeping.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the attacks were in retaliation for a recent invasion of western Russia’s Bryansk region by what Moscow claimed to be Ukrainian destroyers. It claimed to have destroyed all of its intended targets, destroying drone bases, disrupting railways, and damaging weapons manufacturing and repair facilities.

Ukraine denied the intrusion claim and warned that Moscow could use the allegations to escalate its own attacks.

Local officials said nearly half of homes in Kiev were without heat, as was Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where water was also cut on a day when outdoor temperatures were expected to drop to around freezing.

About 150,000 homes were left without power in the northwestern Zhytomyr region of Ukraine. Damaged power lines caused an emergency blackout in the southern port of Odessa.

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“The occupiers can only terrorize civilians. That’s all they can do. Describing the attacks affecting residential buildings, he said.

Moscow confirmed it had used hypersonic Kinzhal – Russian for Dagger – 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.

Defense and military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told Al Jazeera from Moscow that the Russian strikes were strategically targeting Ukraine’s power grid system.

“They were called retaliatory strikes, but this is more or less what has been going on for a few months during this winter, the Ukrainian power grid system being attacked by Russia, hoping to break it down and give power back to the Ukrainian leadership and people. relent and that they would agree to a ceasefire that would stop these attacks,” Felgenhauer said.

“These attacks are spectacular. Hypersonic missiles were used, but the strategic objective was not achieved. Despite all the attacks, the power grid in Ukraine is more or less working and Ukraine is still showing no willingness to agree to Russian terms of ceasefire .

Viktor Bukhta, a 57-year-old resident of Kiev’s Svyatoshinsky district, where officials said three people were injured, said a missile hit nearby in the early morning.

“We went to the yard. People got injured,” he said. “Then the cars caught fire. We tried to extinguish them with the car’s fire extinguisher. And I got a little burnt.

russia ukraine war
This handout photo, taken and released by the Ukrainian emergency service on March 9, 2023, shows a rescue team carrying extinguishing vehicles at the site of fallen fragments of a rocket, near a multi-storey residential building in the capital Kiev. [Ukrainian Emergency Services/AFP]

danger of nuclear plant

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said he was “appalled by the complacency” of members of the organisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with regard to the threats faced by the Zaporizhzhya plant.

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“What are we doing to prevent this from happening? We are the IAEA. We are made to look after nuclear security,” Director General Rafael Grossi told the agency’s board of directors at a meeting on Thursday, according to a statement from the organization. .

“Every time we’re rolling a dice,” he said. “And if we allow this to continue time after time, our luck will one day run out.”

The agency has placed teams of experts at all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of accidents. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that the attack “had no military purpose, just Russian vandalism”.

Smoke could be seen billowing from a facility in Kiev’s Holosivsky district and police have closed all roads leading to it.

Three men and two women were killed in a missile attack on a residential area in the western region of Lviv. He said three buildings were destroyed by the fire, and rescue workers combed through the rubble to look for more possible victims.

Governor Serhiy Lysak said a sixth person was killed and two others wounded in a series of attacks in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

In addition to the barrage of missiles, Russian shelling killed six other civilians from Wednesday to Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, including three people at a bus stop in Kherson.

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