April 16, 2024

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Russia launches a barrage of missiles on major Ukrainian cities

Russia launches a barrage of missiles on major Ukrainian cities

  • Cruise missiles were fired at many cities – Ukrainian Air Force
  • Three people were wounded in the Kyiv mayor’s bombings
  • Lavrov says Ukraine peace plan ‘illusion’

KYIV, Ukraine (Dec 29) (Reuters) – Russia fired dozens of missiles into Ukraine early Thursday morning, targeting Kyiv, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and other cities in an intense aerial bombardment that sent people rushing to shelters and shut down electricity. . the authorities said.

In Kyiv, a team of emergency workers sifted through the smoldering rubble of an apartment house destroyed by an explosion, and footage showed traces of missile smoke lingering over the capital. In Kharkiv, firefighters worked to put out a fire at a power station.

“Senseless barbarity. These are the only words that come to mind when you see Russia unleash another missile barrage on peaceful Ukrainian cities before the New Year,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

The Ukrainian military said it shot down 54 of the 69 missiles launched by Russia in an attack that began at 7 a.m. local time. Sirens sounded across the country, and Kyiv sirens sounded for five hours – in one of the longest alarms of the war.

“This morning the aggressor fired air and sea cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles and S-300 ADMS at the energy infrastructure facilities of our country,” Ukrainian General Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram.

Brigadier General Oleksiy Khrumov of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said the missiles were fired at “vital facilities and energy infrastructure facilities in the eastern, central, western and southern regions”.

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The attacks followed an attack by “kamikaze” drones. Russia has launched several waves of air strikes in recent months on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, leaving millions without electricity and heat in freezing temperatures.

The latest attack came sharply on the heels of the Kremlin’s rejection of the Ukraine peace plan, insisting that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

Missile barrier

The Kyiv military administration said two private homes in the Darnitsky district were damaged by shrapnel from the missiles, as well as a company and a playground. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 16 rockets were dropped over the capital and three people were injured.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said officials had clarified what was hit and if there were any, while Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy said on Telegram that 90% of his city in western Ukraine was without electricity. Missiles destroyed the power infrastructure unit.

The governor of the Odessa region in southwestern Ukraine said air defense units shot down 21 missiles. He added that shrapnel from a missile fell on a residential building, but there were no reports of casualties.

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying cities, towns, the country’s strength, medical and other infrastructure.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a video address, urged Ukrainians to hug their loved ones, tell friends they appreciate them, support colleagues, thank their parents and enjoy their children more often.

“We have not lost our humanity, though we have suffered terrible months,” he said. “And we will not lose it, although there is a difficult year ahead.”

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Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor. Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as imperial-style land grabs.

Comprehensive sanctions were imposed on Russia because of the war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced millions from their homes, destroyed cities and shook the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.

Today’s facts

There is still no prospect of talks to end the war.

Zelensky is aggressively pushing a 10-point peace plan that envisages Russia respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdrawing all its forces.

But Moscow rejected this on Wednesday, stressing that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of the four regions – Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south. It also says Ukraine must accept losing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there could be no peace plan “that does not take into account today’s realities regarding the Russian territory with the entry of four regions into Russia”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Zelensky’s idea of ​​removing Russia from eastern Ukraine and Crimea with the help of the West and getting Moscow to pay compensation to Kyiv is an “illusion,” RIA reported.

Tass quoted Lavrov as saying that Russia will continue to enhance its combat power and technological capabilities in Ukraine. He said the forces mobilized in Moscow had undergone “serious training” and while there were many now on the ground, the majority were not yet at the front.

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Zelensky asked the Verkhovna Rada to remain united and praised Ukrainians for helping the West “find itself again”.

“Our national colors are today an international symbol of courage and toughness for the entire world,” he said in an annual speech held behind closed doors.

Reporting by Reuters offices. Writing by Himani Sarkar and Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Michael Berry and Gareth Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.