International Desk, Oct 10 (EFE).- A deadly barrage of Russian missile strikes that struck Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities such as Lviv and Zaporizhzhia on Monday morning sparked terror among civilians who were ordered to take shelter.
It was unclear how many deaths were caused by the waves of missile strikes across Ukraine.
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Ukraine of carrying out terrorist attacks on Russian territory, a day after he said Kyiv was behind the blast on the Crimean Bridge over the weekend.
“If attempts to carry out terrorist attacks in our territory continue, Russia’s response will be severe and at the level of the threats facing it,” Putin said during a Security Council meeting.
In a video message from Kyiv, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country was “dealing with terrorists,” adding that Russia had used “dozens of missiles” and “Iranian drones” to strike energy infrastructure in the regions of Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Lviv, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Frankiv, Zaporizhzhia, Sumy, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr and Kirovohrad.
“The second target is people,” he said, urging the public to seek shelter and observe safety rules.
CAPITAL ROCKED BY BLASTS
The first wave of bombing in downtown Kyiv on Monday killed at least eight people and injured 24 others, according to Rostislav Smirnov, an advisor at the interior ministry.
A second barrage of strikes hit the city at 9.16am local time.
It was the first Russian attack on the Ukrainian capital since June.
Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said on Telegram that Ukraine’s air defense systems had intercepted 41 of 75 missiles launched by Russia.
Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said in a Telegram post that emergency services had been dispatched to areas of the city hit by the missiles, which included the Shevchenkivs’kyi district, home to universities, bars and the city’s iconic golden dome churches.
Unverified videos on social media showed the impact of a missile on the city’s Shevchenko Park.
Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy shared a statement on social media, confirming that there were “dead and wounded” as a result of the Russian barrage.
“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth. Destroy our people who are sleeping at home in Zaporizhzhia. Kill people on their way to work in Dnipro and Kyiv,” read a statement posted alongside a video montage showing the effects of the missile strikes.
Ukraine’s defense minister Dmytro Kuleba said Putin’s “only tactic” was to bring terror to “peaceful Ukrainian cities.”
“Putin is a terrorist who talks with missiles,” he added, later confirming that he would cut short his visit to Africa to return to Ukraine.
STRIKING DEEP INTO UKRAINE
Missile strikes were also reported in Lviv, which in the early days of the invasion became a refuge for internally displaced Ukrainians given its location in the country’s west, near the Polish border, far from the front lines.
Regional governor Makzym Kozytski told residents to remain in bomb shelters, warning in a Facebook post that air alerts were in effect for possible further strikes.
He said 15 rockets had targeted the Lviv region, and that some had been shot down.
Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported partial electricity supply cuts in Lviv.
Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro, which are closer to the front lines in the country’s southeast, were also targeted in the wave of attacks.
Russian forces hit Zaporizhzhia overnight, killing one civilian, according to Anatoliy Kurtiev, a city council secretary, in a Telegram post.
The city has been the target of three Russian strikes in five days. On Sunday, 17 people were killed and 40 injured when a missile slammed into a residential building.
Nicu Popescu, the deputy prime minister of Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the southwest, said three Russian cruise missiles had crossed Moldovan airspace on Monday.
“I instructed that Russia’s ambassador be summoned to provide an explanation,” he said in a tweet.
Belarusian president Alexandr Lukashenko, a key Putin ally in the region, announced a joint deployment of “regional group” Belarusian and Russian forces, according to the official Belta news agency.
Lukashenko also claimed that Ukraine was planning an attack on Belarus. EFE