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Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukrainian cities, power grid

Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukrainian cities, power grid

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  • Cruise missiles have been fired at numerous Ukrainian cities
  • The military says it shot down 54 of 69 Russian missiles
  • Russian Minister Lavrov: The Ukrainian peace plan is an “illusion”

KYIV, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Russia fired dozens of missiles into Ukraine early on Thursday, targeting Kyiv and other cities including Lviv in the west and Odesa in the southwest, sending people scrambling for shelter and cutting power in one of the most -the big aerials in Moscow attacks.

“Senseless barbarism. These are the only words that come to mind as we see Russia launch yet another missile barrage against peaceful Ukrainian cities before the New Year,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine’s military said it shot down 54 of the 69 missiles fired by Russia. Air raid sirens blared across Ukraine – for five hours in the capital, Kyiv. Officials earlier said more than 120 rockets were fired during the attack.

Reuters footage showed emergency workers pouring through the smoldering remains of apartment buildings in Kyiv destroyed by an explosion and smoke trails from rockets in the sky.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, firefighters extinguish a large fire at a power plant. In the south central city of Zaporozhye, houses were damaged and a rocket left a huge crater.

“I woke up to everything shaking, falling apart. I got up and shouted: “Vitya, Vitya (my husband), where are you?” I ran barefoot on the glass. He appeared and the glass fell from him”, said the 60-year-old local resident Halina.

The Ukrainian military reported that Russia fired air- and sea-based cruise missiles and anti-aircraft missiles at energy infrastructure sites in the eastern, central, western and southern regions. The attacks followed an overnight attack by kamikaze drones.

More than 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure installations were destroyed in the latest attacks, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Waves of Russian airstrikes in recent months targeting energy infrastructure have left millions without power and heating in often sub-zero temperatures.

“SKILLS AND EFFICIENCY”

“The enemy placed high stakes on this attack, preparing for it for two weeks. The Ukrainian Air Defense Forces have demonstrated an incredible level of skill and efficiency,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmykhal said on the Telegram messaging app.

Emergency shutdowns may be implemented in some areas to avoid grid failures, Schmihal said.

Authorities in Kyiv said two private houses in the Darnytsky district were damaged by fragments from downed rockets, and a business and a playground were also damaged. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 16 rockets were shot down and three people were injured in the attacks.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy said on Telegram that 90 percent of his city near the Polish border was without electricity. The rockets damaged an energy infrastructure site.

In Odesa region, fragments of a rocket hit a residential building, but there were no reports of casualties, said its governor Maxim Marchenko.

Moscow has repeatedly denied attacking civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment destroys cities, as well as the country’s energy, medical and other infrastructure.

For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Western countries for additional air defense assistance. Last week, the United States announced another nearly $2 billion in military aid, including Patriot air defense systemwhich offers protection against aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles.

Belarus protested on Thursday to Ukraine’s ambassador after it said it shot down a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile. Television footage released by the Belarusian state news agency BelTA showed what appeared to be missile debris in a field. A Ukrainian military spokesman actually admitted the missile was a Ukrainian hoax, saying the incident was “nothing strange, the result of air defense” and something that “happened more than once.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it was ready to invite authoritative experts from countries that do not support the “terrorist state of Russia” to participate in the investigation.

“The worst thing is that civilians have suffered again,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the bombing by Russia.

In Russia, a regional governor said air defenses shot down a drone near Engels Air Force Base, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine and home to long-range strategic bombers. Russia claims Ukraine has already tried to attack the base twice this month.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor. Ukraine and its Western allies denounced Russia’s actions as an imperialist-style land grab.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Zelensky’s idea to drive Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help and make Moscow pay damages is “illusion” RIA news agency reported.

There is still no prospect of negotiations to end the war.

Zelensky insists a A 10-point peace plan which stipulates that Russia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine and withdraws all its troops.

Additional reporting by the Reuters TV team in Zaporozhye and other Reuters bureaus; Written by Alexandra Hudson, Nick McPhee and Grant McCool; Editing by Gareth Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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