- Cruise missiles fired at numerous cities: Ukrainian Air Force
- Ukraine shoots down 54 of 69 missiles
- Three people injured in explosions in Kyiv – mayor
- Russia’s Lavrov says Ukraine peace plan an ‘illusion’
Kyiv, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Russia fired dozens of missiles into Ukraine early on Thursday, targeting the capital Kyiv and other cities such as Lviv and Odesa in the west, in one of its biggest aerial bombardments ever people to rush to the shelters and drove out. power
“Senseless barbarism. These are the only words that come to mind as I watch Russia launch another missile barrage on peaceful Ukrainian cities before the New Year,” tweeted Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.
Ukraine’s military said it had shot down 54 of the 69 missiles launched by Russia in an assault that began at 7 a.m. local time. Air raid sirens went off across Ukraine and in Kyiv they sounded for five hours, one of the longest alarms of the war.
Officials had previously said more than 120 missiles were fired into Ukraine during the attack.
In Kyiv, Reuters footage showed a team of emergency workers examining the smoldering remains of residential homes destroyed by an explosion and smoke trails from missiles billowing into the sky over the capital.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, firefighters worked to put out a large fire at a power plant.
In the central south city of Zaporizhzhia, houses were damaged and a missile left a huge crater.
“I woke up all trembling, crumbling. I got up and shouted: ‘Vitia, Vitia (my husband), where are you?’ I ran barefoot over glass. He appeared and glass fell on him,” said Halyna, a 60-year-old local resident.
The Ukrainian military said Russia had fired air and sea-based cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles and S-300 ADMS at energy infrastructure facilities in the eastern, central, western and western regions. south The attacks followed an overnight assault by ‘kamikaze’ drones.
Waves of Russian airstrikes in recent months against energy infrastructure have left millions without electricity and heating in often freezing temperatures.
“The enemy bet a lot on this attack, preparing for it for two weeks. The Ukrainian air defense forces demonstrated an incredible level of skill and efficiency,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told Telegram messaging app.
“At the same time, there have been knocks and damage, in particular to energy installations. In some areas, emergency shutdowns can be applied to avoid accidents on the networks. Our electrical engineers are already working to repair it everything,” he added.
The latest bombing came after the Kremlin rejected a Ukrainian peace plan, insisting that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Kyiv authorities said two private homes in the Darnytskyi district were damaged by shrapnel from downed missiles, and a business and a children’s playground were also damaged. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 16 missiles were shot down and three people were injured in the attacks.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi told Telegram that 90 percent of his city near the border with Poland was without power. The missiles damaged an energy infrastructure unit.
In the southwestern region of Odesa, fragments of a missile hit a residential building, although no casualties were reported, its governor Maksym Marchenko said.
Moscow has repeatedly denied that it has targeted civilians, but Ukraine says its daily shelling is destroying cities, towns and the country’s electrical, medical and other infrastructure.
For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has asked Western countries for more air defense help.
Belarus’ state news agency BelTA reported that a Ukrainian S-300 missile had fallen on Belarusian territory on Thursday and published a photo of what it said were parts in an empty field.
Minsk was investigating whether its air defense systems had shot down the rocket or whether it was a malfunction. The incident happened when Russia was firing missiles at Ukraine.
In Russia, a regional governor said air defenses had shot down a drone near Engels Air Force Base, hundreds of miles from the front lines in Ukraine and home to long-range strategic bombers. Russia says Ukraine has already tried to attack the base twice this month.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor. Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as an imperialist-style land grab.
Broad sanctions have been imposed on Russia over the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, left cities in ruins and shaken the global economy, raising energy prices and the food.
There is still no prospect of talks to end the war.
Zelenskiy is pushing hard for a 10-point peace plan that calls for Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all its troops.
But Moscow dismissed that on Wednesday, reiterating that Kyiv must accept Russia’s annexation of the four regions: Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south. He also says Ukraine must accept the loss of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
There can be no peace plan “that does not take into account the current realities regarding Russian territory, with the entry of four regions into Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Zelenskiy’s idea of expelling Russia from eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help and getting Moscow to pay damages to Kyiv is an “illusion”. the RIA news agency reported.
Additional reporting by the Reuters TV team in Zaporizhzhia and other Reuters bureaus Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Gareth Jones
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