Russia launches barrage of missile strikes across four cities in Ukraine

TOPSHOT - A woman and child walk past anti-tank steel hedgehogs covered with snow along Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on December 15, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP) (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Around 70 missiles were launched at civilians in the latest Russian attack (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Russia has launched another ‘massive’ barrage of missiles upon Ukraine, knocking out even more of the country’s critical infrastructure and burying civilians under rubble.

At least 60 missiles and numerous drone attacks were carried out today, hitting four major cities and killing at least three civilians.

The strikes were the second mass air attack carried out by Russia in a matter of days, as they seek to compensate for their failures on the battlefield by terrorising Ukraine’s civilian population in an attempt to brutalise them into submission.

In the capital, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in at least four districts and urged residents to seek refuge in shelters.

At least one energy infrastructure facility appears to have been hit in Kyiv, and there are water disruptions in every district, Klitschko wrote on Telegram.

Kyiv’s metro has suspended all lines, but subway stations remain open as bomb shelters, Mr Klitschko said. Mobile internet is also out in several areas of the capital.

‘They want to destroy us, and make us slaves. But we will not surrender. We will endure,’ said Lidiya Vasilieva, 53, as she headed for shelter at a Kyiv railway station.

‘I want the war over and soon. But I am ready to wait as long as needed.’

People rest in the subway station, being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Ukrainian authorities reported explosions in at least three cities Friday, saying Russia has launched a major missile attack on energy facilities and infrastructure. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in at least four districts, urging residents to go to shelters. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Residents in Kyiv have been advised to use subway stations as bomb shelters following increased strikes on the Ukrainian capital (Picture: AP)

Meanwhile, the mayor of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, reported ‘colossal’ damage from the strikes, leaving many people without heating in freezing winter temperatures. 

‘There is colossal damage to infrastructure, primarily the energy system,’ Ihor Terekhov said.

‘I ask you to be patient with what is happening now. I know that in your houses there is no light, no heating, no water supply.’

In the central city of Kryvyi Rih – President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown – strikes also wounded at least eight people, including three small children. A rescue effort was still underway after missiles struck a residential building and buried the occupants under rubble.

Two people were killed during the strikes, and a third died in a fire in the southern Kherson region after an apartment block was hit by shelling, authorities said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Mr Zelensky’s office, said emergency power shutdowns had been introduced nationwide to enable repairs after energy facilities in several regions had been damaged.

People rest in the subway station, being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Ukrainian authorities reported explosions in at least three cities Friday, saying Russia has launched a major missile attack on energy facilities and infrastructure. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in at least four districts, urging residents to go to shelters. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Moscow has been using strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure as a way to brutalise the civilian population into submission (Picture: AP)

Elsewhere, officials in the Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine confirmed at least 15 hits had been recorded in the area.

‘We ask citizens to prepare for possible temporary restrictions during restoration of damaged infrastructure,’ Oleksandr Starukh, Zaporizhzhia’s regional governor, wrote on Telegram.

Throughout the rest of the country, air raid sirens were recorded in Dnipro, Ternopil, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Kirovohrad, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi and Vinnytsia.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia had launched a total of 70 rockets at Ukraine during the morning rush hour on Friday, although around 30 of them were believed to have been intercepted before they reached their destination.

Strikes on civilian infrstructure have increased in intensity since October, as part of a new Russian strategy to try to freeze Ukrainians into submission after a number of key battlefield losses.

The view in Moscow appears to be that crippling Ukrainian morale will be the quickest way to achieve a peace deal favourable to Russia, which experts fear will be used by Putin as a way to pause the war just long enough to re-arm, and regroup their forces before resuming the attack once their supplies are replenished.

But some analysts and Ukrainian leaders say such an onslaught has only strengthened the resolve of Ukrainians to face up to Russia’s invasion that began on February 24.

‘The goal of the Russian Federation is for Ukrainians to be constantly under pressure, to go down into bomb shelters almost every day, to feel discomfort due to power outages or water interruptions,’ economy minister Yulia Svyrydenko wrote on Facebook.

‘But Ukraine’s position is unchanged: let it be without light, but #withoutyou. We will endure. We will win. We will rebuild.’

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