Multiple explosions have rocked Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities reported explosions and power outages on Monday morning, as Russia struck with a wave of intense air strikes that carried echoes of the days invasion head.
At least 11 people were killed in the strikes, while 64 were injured, Ukrainian emergency services said.
The Ukrainian military said that Moscow fired at least 84 cruise missiles towards Ukraine on Monday, 43 of which were neutralized by missile defense systems. 24 Russian attack drones were also used in the attack, 13 of which were destroyed.
The attack appeared to be the heaviest missile and rocket attack witnessed in most of Ukraine since February, targeting power plants, bridges, civilian infrastructure and sites. other.
It comes two days after an eruption damaged a vital bridge to Crimea and dealt a strategic blow to the Kremlin. A wounded Vladimir Putin, who has also seen weeks of Russian losses on the battlefield, was pressured to respond with force after the explosion, which Mr Putin blamed on Kyiv on Sunday and described described as an act of terrorism.
“It is simply impossible to leave such crimes unanswered,” Putin said during a brief television appearance on Monday. “If efforts to carry out terrorist attacks on our territory continue, the response from Russia will be tough and will be proportionate to the scale of the threat to the Russian Federation. “
At least four explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital during rush hour on Monday morning. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, who tweeted images of a crater smoldering in the ground next to the site is a children’s playground.
In the western city of Lviv, mayor Andriy Sadovyi said an explosion hit “a vital infrastructure”.
“Part of the city has no electricity. A third of the traffic lights are not working,” Sadovyi said on Telegram, warning civilians to stay inside.
Authorities in Sumy, in the northeastern part of Ukraine, said there was a power outage across the region following the missile attacks, reporting that “two missiles hit an infrastructure” in Konotop. Officials in Kharkiv also reported attacks.
For several hours on Monday morning, Kyiv’s metro system was suspended, with underground stations acting as bunkers. But the air strike warning in the city was lifted by midday, as rescuers tried to pull people out of the rubble caused by the strikes.
Demys Shmygal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, said that as of 11 a.m. local time, a total of 11 “critical infrastructure” in eight regions had been damaged.
As of Monday afternoon, power supplies had been cut off in Lviv, Poltava, Sumy and Ternopil, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said. Electricity was “partially interrupted” in the rest of the country.
The explosions will be accompanied by fears that Putin may seek to escalate the conflict in Ukraine, after Moscow’s ground campaign and damage to the Crimean bridge dealt a blow to the Russian president.
Mr. Putin held an activist meeting of the Security Council on Monday, a day after he called the explosions on the Crimean bridge a “terrorist attack” and said that organizers and enforcers is “Ukrainian special services.”
Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the explosion on the huge 19-kilometer (about 12 miles) bridge, built after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, an annexation considered illegal by the West. legal. The crossing was opened by Putin himself in 2018 and the Ukrainian response to the explosion was jubilant and triumphant.
The head of Russia-appointed annexed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said he has “good news” on Monday, claiming that Russia’s approach to its special military operation in Ukraine “has changed” .”
“I said from the very first day of the special military operation that if such actions to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure were carried out on a daily basis, we would have everything done by May and the Kyiv regime will be defeated,” he added.
Monday’s explosions reverberated across central and western Ukraine, away from battlefields in the northeast, east and south where a powerful Ukrainian counter-offensive liberated towns and pushed back Russian troops in recent weeks.
Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency alleges that Russia has been planning missile attacks on Monday since early last week, before the explosion on the bridge. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the strikes showed Putin “is desperate for defeat on the battlefield and is using terrorist missiles to try to change the tempo of war in his favor.”
“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram on Monday as the scale of the attacks became clear. “In short. They are trying to slaughter people sleeping in their homes in Zaporizhzhia. They are trying to kill people who are on their way to work in Dnipro and Kyiv.”
“Across Ukraine, the sirens of air strikes will not abate. Missiles continue to strike. Unfortunately, people have been killed and injured. I ask you: do not leave your shelters. Be safe and take care of your family. Try to be there and stay strong,” Zelensky added.
Ukraine’s Western allies have doubled down on their support for Kyiv in the wake of the strikes, with EU Foreign Policy Director Josep Borrell Fontelles tweeting that “additional military support from the EU is underway” On the way.”
US President Joe Biden said Monday’s attacks “once again demonstrate the utter brutality of Mr. Putin’s illegal war on the Ukrainian people.”
“These attacks only reinforce our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people in the long run,” Biden wrote in a statement. “Together with our allies and partners, we will continue to hold Russia accountable for its aggression, hold Putin and Russia accountable for their atrocities and war crimes. while providing the necessary support to Ukrainian forces to defend their country and freedom.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the attacks “an unacceptable escalation of war and as always, civilians are paying the highest price.”
The office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed to CNN, and Zelensky said on Twitter that the group of G7 nations will hold an emergency meeting via videoconference on Tuesday.