Russia pounds Ukrainian cities with missiles, knocking out water and power
Kyiv — A massive barrage of Russian strikes on Monday morning hit critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities. Russian missiles knocked out water and power supplies in the attack, which was apparent retaliation for what Moscow claims was a Ukrainian attack on its Black Sea Fleet over the weekend.
Russia's Defense Ministry said its forces carried out "strikes with long-range high-precision air and sea-based weapons against the military command and energy systems of Ukraine."
"The goals of the strikes were achieved. All designated targets were hit," the ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine's air force said it shot down 44 of more than 50 cruise missiles that were launched by Russia, but Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said missiles and drones hit 10 Ukrainian regions and damaged 18 objects, most of which were energy facilities.
Hundreds of localities in seven Ukrainian regions were left without power, he said in a Facebook post, adding that "the consequences could have been much worse" if the Ukrainian forces hadn't shot down most of the Russian missiles.
Loud explosions were heard across the Ukrainian capital in the early morning as residents prepared to go to work. Many received text messages from the emergency services about the threat of a missile attack, and air raid sirens wailed for three straight hours.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that 80% of consumers in the city of 3 million people were left without water supplies because of the damage to a power facility.
Local authorities were working to restore the supplies as soon as possible, Klitschko said, telling Kyiv residents in the meantime to "stock up on water from the nearest pump rooms and points of sale."
Andriy Yermak, the head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, vowed that the attacks on civilian facilities would not weaken Ukraine's resistance.
"We will persevere, and generations of Russians will pay a high price for their disgrace," Yermak said.
The attacks came two days after Russia accused Ukraine of a drone attack against Russia's Black Sea Fleet off the coast of the annexed Crimean Peninsula. Ukraine has denied the attack, saying Russia mishandled its own weapons, but Moscow still announced that it was halting its participation in a U.N.-brokered deal to allow safe passage of ships carrying grain from Ukraine.
It was the second time this month that Russia unleashed a massive barrage of strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. On October 10, a similar attack rocked the war-torn country following an explosion on the Kerch Bridge, the sole land link between Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and the Russian mainland. Moscow blamed Kyiv for blast, but Ukraine never publicly accepted responsibility.
Monday's attacks occurred just before Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and many top members of his government, including the foreign, defense and interior ministers, arrived in Kyiv in the latest show of support from European leaders for Ukraine.
Prime Minister Shmyhal said that in the Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions, emergency power shutdowns were underway. "Today, just like in previous weeks, it is important that Ukrainians consume energy mindfully and reduce the load on the grid," the official said.
Kyiv region Governor Oleksii Kuleba said one person was wounded and a number of houses were damaged in the morning attacks.
"The Kremlin is taking revenge for military failures on peaceful people who are left without electricity and heat before the winter," Kuleba said.
In the eastern city of Kharkiv, two strikes hit critical infrastructure facilities, according to authorities, and the subway ceased operating. Officials also warned about possible power outages in the city of Zaporizhzhia resulting from the strikes there.
The city of Zaporizhzhia still held by Ukrainian forces, but about 20 miles away in the city of Enerhodar sits Europe's biggest nuclear power plant. Fighting around the Russian-occupied plant has fueled concern for months over a possible accident, or even a deliberate attack leading to widespread radiological contamination.
The Lviv region in western Ukraine was also targeted on Monday, but the missiles were shot down, Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said.
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