NewsAfter the explosion of a bridge in Crimea, Russia...

After the explosion of a bridge in Crimea, Russia responds with bombings to these cities in Ukraine

Russia fired cruise missiles at cities across Ukraine during rush hour Monday morning, killing civilians and destroying infrastructure, in what Russian President Vladimir Putin said was retaliation for the kyiv attacks, including one to a bridge in Crimea.

The missiles exploded in busy avenues, parks and tourist spots in central kyiv with an intensity not seen since Russian forces tried to capture the capital earlier in the war.

Explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Yitomir in western Ukraine, Dnipro and Kremenchuk in the center of the country, Zaporizhia in the south and Kharkov in the east.

At least 11 people were killed and 89 wounded in the biggest campaign of attacks in months, according to Ukrainian police. Several parts of the country were left without electricity.

In a televised speech, Putin said he had ordered “massive” long-range attacks on Ukrainian energy, command and communication targets, with missiles fired from the air, sea and land, in response to what he described as attacks. terrorists, including Saturday’s explosion on the Kerch Strait bridge.

“The kyiv regime, with its actions, has put itself on the same level as international terrorist organizations. Of the most hateful groups. Leaving such acts unanswered is simply impossible,” Putin said, threatening more attacks in the future if Ukraine hit Russian territory.

His predecessor and number two on the Security Council, former President Dmitri Medvedev, stated that the bombings were only the “first episode” and called for the “total dismantling” of Ukrainian political power.

The Kremlin was humiliated two days ago when an explosion damaged Europe’s longest bridge, which it had built after seizing and annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Ukraine, which regards the bridge as a military target supporting Russia’s war effort, celebrated the explosion without officially claiming responsibility.

With troops suffering weeks of battlefield setbacks, Russian authorities have faced the first domestic public criticism of the war. Commentators on state television have called for increasingly harsh measures.

“They try to destroy us”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday’s rush-hour attacks were deliberately timed to kill people and knock out Ukraine’s power grid.

“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth,” Zelensky said, on the Telegram messaging app. “The air raid sirens are non-stop all over Ukraine. Missiles are falling. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded.”

The Ukrainian prime minister reported that 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions, leaving parts of the country without electricity, water or heating.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it had targeted Ukraine’s energy, military and communications infrastructure.

Monday’s attacks caused a huge crater next to a children’s playground in one of the busiest parks in central kyiv. The remains of an apparent missile were buried, smoking in the mud.

Later in the morning, more missile volleys hit the capital again. Pedestrians crowded into subway station entrances and inside car parks.

By mid-morning, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Russia had fired 81 cruise missiles and Ukrainian air defenses had shot down 43.

Security camera footage showed shrapnel and flames scorching a glass-bottomed walkway through a wooded valley in the city center, one of kyiv’s most popular tourist spots. A passerby was fleeing from the explosion.

Russia had not attacked kyiv since June.

“We were sleeping when we heard the first explosion. We woke up, went to see what was happening and then the second explosion happened,” Ksenia Ryazantseva, a 39-year-old teacher, told AFP.

“We did not understand what was happening (…) well, we are at war,” he added.

Olena Somyk, 41, took refuge with her 6-year-old daughter, Daria, in an underground garage where hundreds of other people were waiting for the order to leave. He had arrived in kyiv early in the war after fleeing from the southern Russian-occupied city of Kherson.

“Really, I think they have done it because they are bastards,” Somyk told Reuters. Putin, he added, “is an angry little man, so we don’t know what else to expect.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today reported a “temporary pause” in its activities in Ukraine due to the series of bombings in kyiv and other key cities.

“Given the security situation in Ukraine today, ICRC teams have momentarily stopped their movements to seek refuge and continue working on the ground,” said a brief statement from the humanitarian organization.

“Assistance will resume when the security situation allows it,” said the ICRC, an organization specializing in humanitarian aid in war zones for more than 150 years.

The organization maintains some 700 collaborators on Ukrainian soil to send humanitarian aid and medicine, especially for the millions of people displaced by the conflict.

“Another unacceptable escalation”

The head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, estimated for his part that Putin is “desperate as a result of the defeats on the battlefield”.

That is why, he added, he uses “missile terrorism to try to change the rhythm of the war in his favor.”

These aggressions “constitute another unacceptable escalation of the war”, denounced the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, according to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

Britain called the attacks “unacceptable,” the European Union and Poland said they were “war crimes” and France promised to increase military aid to kyiv.

Germany, in turn, pointed out that the delivery of a first anti-aircraft defense system to Ukraine, promised for months, was imminent.

The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, also condemned the “horrible and indiscriminate” attacks.

With information from AFP, Reuters and EFE

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