Ukrainian officials said Russia fired more than 70 missiles at Ukraine on Friday in one of its largest attacks since the war began, knocking out power supplies in the country’s second-largest city and forcing Kyiv to implement nationwide blackouts.
They added that three people were killed when a residential building was hit in the center of Kryvyi Rih and another was killed in an explosion in Kherson in the south.
Russian officials, stationed in occupied eastern Ukraine, said 12 people had been killed in Ukrainian air strikes.
In an evening video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia still had enough missiles for several more massive strikes, urging Western allies once again to provide Kyiv with more and better air defense systems.
Zelensky said Ukraine was strong enough to recover. “Whatever the missile worshipers in Moscow think, it will not change the balance of power in this war,” he said.
Kyiv warned on Thursday that Moscow was planning a new all-out offensive early next year, nearly a year after the Feb. 24 invasion, in which missiles and artillery devastated large swathes of Ukraine but captured little of it.
Russia has fired missiles at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure nearly every week since early October after several battlefield defeats, but Friday’s attack appears to have caused more damage than many others, with snow and ice now falling across the country. .
After some repairs, the Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo lifted the state of emergency that forced it to force outages. But the company also warned that it would take longer to repair equipment and restore electricity than in previous bombings.
Ukraine’s air force says Russia has sent warplanes close to Ukraine in an attempt to distract its air defences. His army chief said 60 of the 76 Russian missiles were shot down, but German Energy Minister Galushenko said at least nine power generation facilities were hit.
Moscow says the attacks are aimed at disrupting Ukraine’s armed forces. Ukrainians classify them as war crimes.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said late Friday that only a third of the city’s residents have heat and water, and that 40% have electricity. He added that the subway system – an important transportation artery in the city – remains closed.
Zelensky urged Ukrainians to be patient and urged regional authorities to be more creative in securing emergency energy supplies.
Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, the country’s second largest city, was also hit hard by power, heating and water cuts. Ukraine’s Interfax news agency quoted the region’s governor, Oleh Sinhopov, later on Friday as saying that 55% of the city’s electricity was back on and 85% in the surrounding area.
* Reporting by Reuters newsrooms. Written by Stephen Coates, Philippa Fletcher, and Mark Heinrichs
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