Kyiv: Missile strikes hit cities across Ukraine on Tuesday and caused massive power outages, days after a humiliating Russian retreat in the south of the country and amid the G20 summit.
The new shelling, which officials say hit residential buildings in Kyiv, encroached on days of Ukrainian jubilation over the recapture of the key city of Kherson.
Lviv in the west and Kharkiv in the east were also attacked on Tuesday, authorities said, but there was no immediate information about any casualties.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced the attack following reports that air raid sirens were sounding in all parts of Ukraine, saying at least half of Kyiv residents were without electricity .
“According to preliminary information, two residential buildings were hit in the Pechersk district,” he said, adding “several missiles were shot down… by air defense systems.”
The deputy head of the president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said the missiles were fired by Russian forces.
He distributed footage of the apparent scene of the attacks, showing a fire in a five-story Soviet-era residential building.
“The danger has not passed. Stay in shelters,” he added in the online statement.
The attacks came after Russian officials were named in New Kakhovka said they were leaving the important southern city, blaming artillery fire from Kyiv forces, which reclaimed swaths of the south after a Russian retreat.
Their announcement comes a day after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the recently liberated regional capital of the Kherson region and announced “the beginning of the end of the war”.
Zelensky told the G20 summit in Bali on Tuesday that “the time has come” to end the war.
“I am convinced that the time has come when the destructive Russian war must and can be stopped,” he said via video link, according to a speech obtained by AFP. “It will save thousands of lives.”
Since September, Ukrainian forces have pushed deeper into the south and Russia last week announced a complete withdrawal from the regional capital of the southern region of Kherson, allowing Ukraine to enter.
“Employees of the state administration of Nova Kakhovka, as well as state and municipal institutions left the city and were transferred to safe places in the region,” Moscow-based authorities said on Telegram.
Russian-backed officials said that after Moscow’s withdrawal from the city of Kherson, Nova Kakhovka had come under “indiscriminate fire” and that “life in the city was not safe”.
They also claimed that “thousands of residents” had followed their recommendation to leave to “save themselves”, saying the Kyiv forces would seek “revenge against their collaborators”.
Authorities said that did not mean the city was “abandoned” and that “teams of municipal workers” were working to keep the “energy and water supply systems running”.
Nova Kakhovka sits on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, maintaining a natural dividing line between Ukrainian forces that took over the city of Kherson on the western side and Russian forces on the opposite bank.
It is also home to the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam which was captured early in the invasion due to its strategic importance for supplying the Crimean peninsula annexed to Moscow.
The dam under Russian control is the subject of particular attention now after Zelensky accused Russian troops of planning to blow it up to trigger a devastating flood.
Any problems with the dam would cause water supply problems for Crimea, which has been under Russian control since 2014 and which Ukraine hopes to take back.
Russian forces said last week that a Ukrainian strike had damaged the dam.
The Russian-appointed head of the occupied part of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said on Tuesday that the dam was no longer working.
“Today the turbines do not produce electricity, and it is not necessary,” he said on the public television channel Rossiya-24, according to Russian agencies.
“The situation is more dangerous – not with the electricity generation – but with the dam itself, which, if it exploded, would flood a fairly large area.”
The loss of Kherson was the latest in a string of setbacks for the Kremlin, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 hoping for a whirlwind takeover that would topple the government within days.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg nevertheless warned that Ukraine faced difficult months and said Russia’s military capability should not be underestimated.

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