Russia fired several missiles into Ukraine early on Thursday, targeting the country’s northeastern regions of Kiev and Kharkiv and other cities, in a heavy aerial bombardment that sent people running for shelter and brought down the energy, Ukrainian officials said.
In Kiev, a team of emergency workers sifted through the wreckage of a house destroyed by an explosion, and footage showed trails of missile smoke in the sky over the capital. In Kharkiv, firefighters were working to extinguish a fire at an electricity station.
“Senseless barbarism. These are the only words that come to mind when seeing Russia launch another series of missiles against peaceful Ukrainian cities before the new year,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Missiles shot down
Ukraine’s military said it shot down 54 missiles out of 69 launched by Russia in an attack that began at 7 am local time. Air raid sirens sounded across the country. In Kiev they sounded for five hours, one of the longest alarms of the war.
“This morning, the aggressor launched air and sea cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles and S-300 ADMS on our country’s power infrastructure facilities,” Ukrainian General Valery Zaluzhny detailed in Telegram.
Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said the missiles were fired at “vital facilities and power infrastructure in the eastern, central, western and southern regions”.
The attacks followed an overnight attack by “kamikaze” drones. Russia has carried out several waves of airstrikes in recent months on critical Ukrainian infrastructure, leaving millions without power and heat in freezing temperatures.
The last blitz came on the heels of the Kremlin’s rejection of a Ukrainian peace plan, insisting that Kiev must accept Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Moscow denies targeting civilians, but Ukraine says daily shelling is destroying cities, towns and the country’s electrical, medical and other infrastructure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a video speech called on Ukrainians to hug their loved ones, tell friends they like them, support colleagues, thank their parents and rejoice with their children more often.
“We haven’t lost our humanity, even though we’ve had terrible months,” he said. “And we’re not going to miss it, even though there’s a tough year ahead.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation” to demilitarize the neighboring country. Kiev and its Western allies brand Russia’s actions an imperialist-style land grab.
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