Dozens of explosions have rocked cities across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, in an intensification of Russia’s attacks that could spell a major escalation in the nearly eight-month war.
“This morning, 75 missiles were launched. 41 of them were neutralised by our air defence,” General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The barrage of strikes killed at least 10 people and wounded 60, Ukrainian police said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country had launched long-range missiles against Ukrainian energy, military and communications infrastructure, in retaliation for an attack on the bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula on Saturday.
“This morning, on the advice of the defence ministry and according to a plan from the general staff, a massive strike was carried out with high-precision, long-range weapons… on energy, military command and communications facilities in Ukraine,” Putin said during a meeting with his security council.
He repeated, without providing evidence, his assertion that Ukraine and its NATO backers were behind still-unexplained ruptures to the Nord Stream gas pipelines which run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Putin also accused Ukraine of attempting to carry out an attack against a nuclear power plant in Russia and against the TurkStream gas pipeline running from Russia to Turkey.
“If such attempts continue there will be responses that will be harsh and correspond to the level of threats made against the Russian federation,” he added.
Moscow’s defence ministry said the strikes had achieved their aims. “All targets have been hit,” the defence ministry said in a statement.