- Cruise missiles were launched in several cities – the Air Force of Ukraine
- Ukraine shot down 54 of 69 missiles
- 3 injured in explosions in Kiev – Mayor
- Russia’s Lavrov says Ukrainian peace plan is an “illusion”.
KYIV, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Russia launched a barrage of missiles into Ukraine early on Thursday, targeting Kyiv and other cities including Lviv in the west and Odesa in the southwest, sending people into shelters and knocking out power to one of Moscow’s biggest airspaces. attacks.
“Senseless barbarism. These are the only things that come to mind when we see Russia launch yet another missile attack on peaceful Ukrainian cities on the eve of the New Year,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.
Ukraine’s military said it shot down 54 of the 69 missiles fired by Russia. Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine – for five hours in Kiev.
“The downing of 54 missiles saved dozens of lives and secured vital parts of our economic infrastructure,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a tweet. “Every day of military victory brings our victory closer.”
Officials had earlier said more than 120 missiles were fired during the attack.
Reuters footage showed teams of emergency workers digging through the smoldering wreckage of residential houses in Kyiv, which had been destroyed by the explosion of missiles in the sky and smoke trails.
Firefighters battle a major fire at a power plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. In the south central city of Saporigia, houses were damaged and a missile left a large crater.
“I woke up to everything shaking and crashing. I woke up and said, ‘Vidya, Vidya (my husband), where are you?’ I ran barefoot over the glass and he appeared and the glass was falling,” said Halina, a 60-year-old local resident.
Ukraine’s military said Russia launched air- and sea-based cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles and the S-300 ADMS at energy infrastructure facilities in the eastern, central, western and southern regions. The attacks followed an overnight attack by “kamikaze” drones.
A wave of Russian airstrikes in recent months targeting energy infrastructure has left millions without electricity and heat in often freezing temperatures.
‘Efficiency and Efficiency’
“The enemy prepared for this attack for two weeks and invested heavily in this attack. The Ukrainian Air Defense Forces have demonstrated an incredible level of skill and competence,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal said on the Telegram messaging app.
“At the same time, there were impacts and damages, especially in energy facilities. In some areas, emergency shutdowns may be used to avoid accidents in the networks. Our energy engineers are already working to repair everything,” he added.
Kyiv officials said two private houses in Darnytsky district were damaged by shrapnel from downed missiles, and a business and a playground were damaged. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said 16 missiles were shot down and three people were injured in the attack.
The mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovy, said in a telegram that 90% of his city near the Polish border was without power. The missiles damaged the energy infrastructure sector.
In the Odesa region, shrapnel from a missile hit a residential building, but there were no casualties, its governor Maxim Marchenko said.
Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying towns, cities and the country’s power, medical and other infrastructure.
For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking the West for air defense assistance.
Belarus protested to the Ukrainian ambassador that it shot down a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile. TV footage released by Belarus’ state-run Belda news agency showed missile debris lying in a field.
In Russia, air defense forces shot down a drone near Engels Air Force Base, hundreds of kilometers from the front line in Ukraine. Russia says Ukraine has already tried to attack the base twice this month.
No peace talks
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” to militarize his neighbor. Kiev and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as an imperialist-style land grab.
Russia has been hit with heavy sanctions for the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, left cities in ruins and rocked the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.
There is still no chance of talks to end the war.
Zelensky has been actively promoting a 10-point peace plan that would see Russia respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all its troops.
But Moscow rejected that on Wednesday, reiterating that Kyiv must accept the annexation of four regions by Russia: Luhansk and Donetsk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzia in the south. It also says Ukraine must accept the loss of Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Zelensky’s idea of forcing Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help and forcing Moscow to pay reparations was an “illusion,” RIA news agency reported.
Additional reporting by the Reuters TV team in Zaporizhia and other Reuters bureaus by Alexandra Hudson and Nick MacPhee; Editing by Gareth Jones
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