Air attacks have been observed throughout the country, some striking energy sites, Ukrainian officials have said.
Ukrainian officials and media reported a Russian missile barrage on Thursday, with explosions said to be heard throughout the country. The capital, Kiev, faces new blackouts, its mayor has warned, while other cities reported experiencing power disruptions.
An air alert was issued early in the morning across all of Ukraine. Blast sounds, which some officials attributed to Ukrainian air defenses engaging Russian missiles, were reported in several large cities, including Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.
The mayor of the city of Kharkov, Igor Terekhov, reported that some of the missiles had hit targets in his city, without identifying them. The head of Kharkov Region, Oleg Sinegubov, said there were four rocket hits and that critical infrastructure was targeted.
Odessa Region Governor Maxim Marchenko reported that a strike on energy infrastructure caused a partial blackout in the province. Debris of an intercepted Russian missile fell on a residential building, he claimed.
Vitaly Klitschko, the mayor of the Ukrainian capital, warned residents about possible power cuts and urged them to stockpile water and charge their devices. Lviv Mayor Andrey Sadovoy, reported that 90% of his city was without power, forcing the suspension of trams and trolleys.
The Russian military did not immediately confirm firing a barrage of missiles on Thursday. Mikhail Podoliak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, claimed in a tweet that Moscow had fired over 120 missiles.
Ukraine has been experiencing power shortages since October, when Russia began targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure. The shift in military tactics came after a truck bomb exploded on Russia’s iconic Crimean Bridge, killing three civilians, including the rigged vehicle’s driver. Russian investigators said that Ukrainian military intelligence had masterminded the attack.
President Vladimir Putin subsequently stated that this was one of several Ukrainian “terrorist attacks” against critical Russian infrastructure that cannot be left without a response. The Russian military claims to select targets based on their value to Ukraine’s military capabilities, and that the damage inflicted has significantly decreased Kiev’s ability to deliver weapons and troops to the front.
Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko assessed last week that it would take six months to “stabilize” the country’s energy system, provided that Russia stops causing damage to it.
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