Russia launched a massive missile attack across Ukraine – hitting targets in the capital Kiev, the second-largest city of Kharkiv and the Black Sea port of Odessa – killing at least six people.
The northern city of Chernihiv and the western region of Lviv, as well as the cities of Dnipro, Lutsk and Rivne, also came under fire, and Ukrainian the media reported explosions in the western regions of Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil.
THE Russian The attack – targeting the country’s energy infrastructure but also hitting residential areas – was the first of its kind on such a scale in three weeks.
Ukrainian War – latest: Russia launches massive missile attack
The airstrikes caused widespread power outages and sounded air raid sirens. Many areas were also left without water.
Ukraine’s military said Russia fired 81 missiles and eight drones in the morning offensive.
Defense systems were activated and 34 cruise missiles and four drones were destroyed.
The country’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko, condemned the missile strikes as “another barbaric massive attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure”.
Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential staff chief, wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “Terrorists are doing everything they can to leave us without electricity… They continue their terror against peaceful people.”
Five people were killed in the Lviv region after a missile hit a residential area, governor Maksym Kozytskyi said. Three buildings were destroyed by fire after the strike and rescuers were digging through the rubble for other possible victims, he said.
A fifth person was killed in several airstrikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region that targeted its energy infrastructure and industrial facilities, Governor Serhii Lysak said.
Officials said the capital was attacked with both missiles and explosive drones and many were intercepted but its energy infrastructure was hit.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said explosions were reported in the city’s Holosiivskyi district and emergency services were heading there.
“Critical infrastructure objects are once again in the sights of the occupiers,” Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said in a Telegram message after 15 missiles struck the eastern Ukrainian city and the northeastern outlying region, hitting people. residential buildings.
The city’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, reported “problems with electricity” in some parts of the city.
Energy installations and residential buildings were also affected in the southern region of Odessa, according to its governor Maksym Marchenko.
“The second wave is expected right now, so I’m asking people in the area to stay in shelters!” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Preventive emergency power cuts were applied in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Odessa regions, supplier DTEK said.
Ukrainian Railways also reported power outages in some areas.
The power supply to the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was also cut off during the offensive.
State-owned Energoatom said in a statement: “The last link between the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the Ukrainian electricity system has been severed.”
He said the fifth and sixth reactors had been shut down and the electricity needed to run the plant was supplied by 18 diesel generators which had enough fuel for 10 days.
Nuclear power plants need constant power to run cooling systems and prevent a meltdown.
“The countdown has begun,” the company added.
The nuclear plant was captured by Russian forces early in their invasion of Ukraine and remains under their control.
It is strategically critical to both sides in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but its current stalemate has sparked growing nuclear security concerns.
The missile offensive came as Ukrainian forces repelled fierce assaults by Russian soldiers on the eastern mining town of Bakhmut.
“The enemy continued their attacks and showed no signs of letting up in the assault on the town of Bakhmut,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said on Facebook.
“Our defenders repelled attacks on Bakhmut and surrounding communities.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address Wednesday evening that the battle for Bakhmut and the surrounding Donbass region was “our first priority”.
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The Russian mercenary group Wagner claimed control of the eastern part of Bakhmut.
“Everything east of the Bakhmutka River is completely under Wagner’s control,” group leader and founder Yevgeny Prigozhin wrote on Telegram.
Control of Bakhmut would give Russia a springboard to advance on two major cities it has long coveted in the Donetsk region: Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
Russia said it had annexed almost 20% of Ukrainian territory.