Russia Hits Ukrainian Infrastructure in ‘Biggest Attacks’ Since Invasion

Explosions from the latest major Russian airstrike barrage knocked out public services in Kyiv and dozens of other Ukrainian cities on Friday, increasing pleas from officials for more Western air defense systems to protect critical infrastructure.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s administration, said that “due to strikes at power plants in various regions of Ukraine, emergency power cuts are being imposed throughout the country,” adding that they were also interrupted. heating and water supplies. Tymoshenko said 14 civilians were killed in the attacks.

Mykhailo Shymanov, a spokesman for Kyiv’s military and civil administration, said on state television that the shelling amounted to one of the “biggest attacks since the start of the large-scale war.” released by Russia in February.

Moscow’s months-long kamikaze missile and drone campaign has targeted energy infrastructure in a bid to test Kyiv’s resolve in the cold winter months after Ukrainian troops pushed back to Russian forces in the occupied eastern and southern regions this fall.

General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said in a statement that “the enemy launched 76 missiles at critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine from the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea this morning: among them, there were 72 missiles. cruise missiles and four air-to-surface guided missiles,” adding that 60 missiles were shot down.

More than 40 missiles were detected near Kyiv, 37 of which were shot down by Ukraine’s Soviet-era air defense systems, Shymanov said.

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force talk as one of them holds the remains of a rocket that was allegedly shot down after a Russian attack on Kyiv.
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force speak as one holds the remains of a rocket that was allegedly shot down after a Russian attack on Kyiv © Felipe Dana/AP

Ukrenergo, the state power companydeclared a “system emergency” and a “blackout” across the country, citing a 50 percent power loss within the country’s electrical system.

Vitaly Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, said explosions had gone off in at least three of the capital’s districts.

“Due to the damage to the energy infrastructure, there are interruptions in the water supply in all areas of the capital,” Klitschko said in a Telegram post. Electricity and heating were also cut off in parts of Kyiv.

Explosions were also reported in many other areas, including the central city of Krivi RihZelenskyy’s hometown, where two people were killed and five injured in an attack on a residential building.

Kharkiv, the largest city in eastern Ukraine that has been frequently attacked since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, completely lost power due to the attacks. Attacks on the Black Sea port region of Odessa also caused major disruptions to public services for the second time in a week.

Condemning attacks on critical infrastructure as “war crimes”, Ukraine’s Western backers vowed to push air defense shipments while Russian attacks threaten quickly depleting Kyiv’s arsenal. But Zelenskyy administration officials have repeatedly expressed frustration that such supplies are taking too long to be delivered.

Kyiv has been very interested in having the US supply its longer-range Patriot system. U.S officials in Washington said A decision on the approval of delivery of the system is expected soon.

United States last month pledged $53 million in funds to help Ukraine restore its electrical infrastructure and the State Department said Friday the first shipments had arrived in the country, including equipment needed to make emergency repairs. Additional tranches of aid will arrive in the coming weeks, the officials added.

in a post on Twitter Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Zelenskyy administration, criticized Russia for carrying out “another massive attack against cities, energy, residential buildings. Two questions: 1. Does anyone else want to propose a ‘peaceful settlement’ to allow Putin to save face? 2. Should we further slow down the missile defense transfer process to ‘prevent escalation’?”

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, echoed Podolyak, arguing that the latest attacks only strengthened the case for the West to increase arms supplies.

“For every Russian missile or drone directed at Ukraine and the Ukrainians there must be a shell delivered to Ukraine, a tank for Ukraine, an armored vehicle for Ukraine,” he said on Twitter. “This would effectively end Russian terror against Ukraine and restore peace and security in Europe and beyond.”

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