Russia pounds Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities with deadly missile strikes
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskyy stated Monday that many people were injured and killed in multiple missile strikes in Ukraine. This included the first attack on Kyiv in months. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata said the strikes, which could signal a major escalation in the eight-month-old war, appeared to be entirely punitive — retaliation meant to terrorize Ukrainian civilians in densely-populated urban neighborhoods, close to government buildings, with one even hitting a children’s playground.
The lethal barrage smashed into civilian areas, knocking out power and water, shattering buildings and killing at least 14 people. The bombardment came two days after Russia suffered a serious blow with the bombing that damaged its sole bridge to Crimea.
Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the morning rush hour attacks that Russia launched from the air, sea and land against at least 14 regions, spanning from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the east. Many of these attacks took place far from war’s frontlines.
Russia claimed that missiles were directed at military and energy facilities. However, some hit civilian areas as people were walking to work or school. One struck a school in Kyiv, while another hit a park.
The attacks plunged much of the country into a blackout, depriving hundreds of thousands of people of electricity and creating a shortage so severe Ukrainian authorities announced they would have to stop power exports to Europe starting Tuesday. Due to the system’s dependence on electricity to power pumps and other equipment, power outages often leave residents without water.
The head of Ukraine’s law enforcement said Monday’s attacks damaged 70 infrastructure sites, of which 29 are critical. Zelenskyy said that of the 84 cruise missiles and 24 drones Russia fired, Ukrainian forces shot down 56. Andriy Ermak, a senior adviser of President Volodymyr Zeleskyy, stated that the strikes were not “practical military sense” and that Russia was trying to cause a “humanitarian disaster”. “
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his forces used “precision weapons” to target key energy infrastructure and military command facilities in retaliation for Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions — a reference to Ukraine’s attempts to repel Moscow’s invasion forces, including an attack Saturday on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula that Putin called a “terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian special services.
Putin promised a “tough” response to any further attacks by Ukraine that could threaten Russia’s security. He stated via video that “No one should have any doubts regarding it,” and addressed Russia’s Security Council via video.
The explosions in Kyiv and other cities came just a day after Putin blamed Kyiv for the massive explosion on a 12-mile bridge connecting Crimea with Russia. Crimea is a large Ukrainian peninsula that Russia occupied and then unilaterally annexed eight years ago during a previous invasion. The annexation of that territory, like Putin’s recent land grab of four Ukrainian regions that he declared Russian soil last week, have been condemned as illegitimate and illegal by Ukraine, the United Nations, the U.S. and other countries. The explosion that struck the bridge sparked celebrations among Ukrainians, as well as others on social media. Officials in Kyiv did not claim any responsibility.
The Russian president has been under intense domestic pressure to take more aggressive action to stop a largely successful Ukrainian counteroffensive and to react forcefully to Saturday’s attack on the Kerch bridge, whose construction he used to cement his 2014 annexation of Crimea. Putin’s frequent and unrelenting criticisms of Ukraine’s terrorist actions could indicate that he is planning to take even more drastic and extreme actions. In Monday’s speech, Putin, whose partial troop mobilization orders last month triggered an exodus from Russia of hundreds of thousands men of fighting age, did not allow for an expected escalation of what he called a “special military operations” to a counterterrorism campaign. Zelenskyy repeatedly called for world leaders to declare Russia terrorist state due to its war crimes and attacks on civilians.
Zelenskyy emerged onto a street in Kyiv on Monday to record a selfie video with a message to his people and the world, denouncing Russia for the barrage of missiles which he said had targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, and its civilians.
Zelenskyy’s wife, Olena, posted a video showing people sheltering on the stairs of a Kyiv subway station singing a Ukrainian folk song, “In a Cherry Garden,” whose final lines are: “My dear mother, you are old and I’m happy and young. I want to live, and to love. “
“They have specifically chosen such a time and such targets to cause as much damage as possible,” the president said. “But we Ukrainians, help each other, believe and rebuild everything. Although electricity shortages may be inevitable, they will not affect our determination and our belief in our victory.
Residents of Ukraine’s two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv, were evacuated to bomb shelters. Subway stations were also affected by the strikes.
While air raid sirens continue throughout the war in cities all over the country, many Ukrainians in Kyiv and other areas have begun to ignore them after months of calm.
As traffic picked up Monday morning, a minibus carrying commuters was struck near Kyiv’s National University. Nearby, at most one strike left a large hole near a children’s playground.
Another target is the Klitschko pedestrian Bridge — a landmark in central Kyiv that has glass panels. Closed-circuit footage captured a massive explosion under the bridge. Smoke rose and a man ran away, apparently unhurt. The bridge sustained no significant damage.
For four hours, sirens sounded across Ukraine, except in Russia-annexed Crimea.
Videos shared on social media showed black smoke rising over several areas of the capital. Russia’s last strike on the capital was on June 26.
Associated Press journalists saw multiple bodies at an industrial site on the outskirts of Dnipro. Four people were killed and 19 injured in the city, officials said. Witnesses claimed that a missile struck a bus during rush hour. It damaged the bus but did not kill any passengers.
Mayor Ihor Terekhov stated that
Kharkiv had been struck three times. Strikes knocked out electricity and water supply. Lviv, the regional governor, also suffered damage to its energy infrastructure. Maksym Kozytskyi said.
Three cruise rockets fired against Ukraine from Russian ships in Black Sea crossed Moldova’s Airspace, according to Nicu Popescu, the country’s foreign minister. The European Union condemned Russia’s attack and called it a war crime. However, the Defense Ministry of Russia confirmed the “massive strike using long-range precision arms.” It claimed that the missiles had hit “objects of the Ukrainian military command and control, communications, and energy systems” and that all of them were hit. “
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply shocked by today’s large-scale missile attacks” on Ukraine, his spokesman said in a statement, adding that the strike “constitutes another unacceptable escalation of the war and, as always, civilians are paying the highest price. Some feared Monday’s attacks could be the first of a renewed Russian offensive. Ukraine has switched all schools to online learning as a precautionary measure.
In a worrying move, the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko declared Monday that he and Putin had agreed to create a “regional grouping” of troops. He offered no details.
Lukashenko repeated his claims that Ukraine is plotting an attack on Belarus, sparking fears he would take preemptive action. Viktor Khrenin (his defense minister) later warned Ukraine not to provoke Belarus and said, “We don’t want to fight.” “
CBS News correspondent Pamela Falk contributed to this report.
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