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Russia launches biggest air strikes since start of Ukraine war

Published 10/08/2022, 12:54 AM
Updated 10/11/2022, 12:22 PM

By Max Hunder and Jonathan Landay

KYIV (Reuters) -Russia rained cruise missiles on busy Ukrainian cities on Monday in what the United States called "horrific strikes", killing civilians and knocking out power and heat with its most widespread air attacks since the start of the war.

Missiles tore into intersections, parks and tourist sites in the capital Kyiv and explosions were reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, Dnipro and Kremenchuk in the centre, Zaporizhzhia in the south and Kharkiv in the east.

Ukrainian officials said at least 11 people were killed and scores injured and suspended electricity exports to Europe while it tried to end blackouts across the country.

Thousands of residents raced to bomb shelters as air raid sirens rang out through the day. The barrage of dozens of cruise missiles fired from air, land and sea was the biggest wave of air strikes to hit away from the front line, at least since the initial volleys on the war's first day, Feb. 24.

President Vladimir Putin said he had ordered "massive" long range strikes after an attack on the bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula over the weekend, and threatened more strikes in future if Ukraine hits Russian territory.

"To leave such acts without a response is simply impossible," he said, alleging other, unspecified attacks on Russian energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian military intelligence said the Russian attacks were ordered in early October. "The objects of critical civil infrastructure and the central areas of densely populated Ukrainian cities were identified as targets," it said.

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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said they were deliberately timed to kill people and knock out Ukraine's power grid. His prime minister said 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions, leaving parts of the country with no electricity, water or heat.

"They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth," Zelenskiy said.

The body of a man in jeans lay in a street at a major Kyiv intersection, surrounded by flaming cars. In a park, a soldier cut through the clothes of a woman who lay in the grass to try to treat her wounds. Two other women were bleeding nearby.

BATTLEFIELD SETBACKS

"These attacks killed and injured civilians and destroyed targets with no military purpose. They once again demonstrate the utter brutality of Mr. Putin’s illegal war on the Ukrainian people," U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement.

The Kremlin was humiliated two days ago when a blast damaged the bridge it built after seizing Crimea in 2014. Ukraine, which views the bridge as a military target sustaining Russia's war effort, celebrated the blast without claiming responsibility.

With troops suffering weeks of setbacks on the battlefield, Russian authorities have been facing the first sustained public criticism at home of the war, with commentators on state television demanding ever tougher measures.

Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. army forces in Europe, said the scale of the strikes suggested Russia's plan to escalate may have been drawn up before the bridge was attacked.

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On Saturday, Russia's Defence Ministry named General Sergei Surovikin, who won acclaim in Syria, as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine. A Russian air campaign in Syria helped the government crush its enemies.

Monday's blasts tore a huge crater next to a children's playground in one of central Kyiv's busiest parks. The remains of an apparent missile were buried, smoking in the mud.

More volleys of missiles struck the capital again later in the morning. Pedestrians huddled for shelter at the entrance of Metro stations and inside parking garages.

"This constitutes another unacceptable escalation of the war and, as always, civilians are paying the highest price," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, while its aid organization and others said their aid work in Ukraine had been disrupted.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the strikes "horrific" and he and Biden reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine.

Ukraine's defence ministry said in its evening update Russia had staged at least 84 missile and air strikes, and Ukraine's air defences had destroyed 43 cruise missiles and 13 drones. Russia's defence ministry said it had hit all its intended targets.

Security camera footage showed shrapnel and flames engulfing a glass-bottomed footbridge across a wooded valley in Kyiv's centre, one of its most popular tourist sites. One pedestrian could be seen running from the blast. Reuters later saw a crater below the bridge which was damaged but still standing.

Zelenskiy said the strikes targeted energy infrastructure and people.

"Such a time and such targets were specially chosen to cause as much damage as possible," he said in a video message filmed on a mobile phone on an empty central Kyiv street.

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Prime Minister Denys Shmygal promised to restore utilities as quickly as possible. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: "Putin is a terrorist who talks with missiles."

Olena Somyk, 41, sheltered with her six-year-old daughter, Daria, in an underground garage with hundreds of people. She had fled the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson, crossing Russia and Europe to get to Kyiv.

"Putin, she said, "is a small angry man, so we don't know what more to expect".

BELARUS ESCALATION

In another sign of possible escalation, Putin's closest ally, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, said he had ordered troops to deploy jointly with Russian forces near Ukraine, which he accused of planning attacks on Belarus with its Western backers. Russia used Belarus as a staging ground early in the war but Lukashenko has not sent in his troops.

Within Russia, the strikes were cheered by hawks. Ramzan Kadyrov, the staunchly pro-Kremlin leader of Russia's Chechnya region who had recently demanded that military commanders be sacked, wrote: "Now I am 100% satisfied with how the special military operation is being conducted."

"We warned you Zelensky, that Russia hasn't even got started yet, so stop complaining ... and run!"

Russia has faced several setbacks since early September, with Ukrainian forces bursting through front lines and recapturing territory. Putin responded by ordering a mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of reservists, proclaiming the annexation of occupied territory and threatening repeatedly to use nuclear weapons.

Latest comments

6200 civilians kiiled until now ,Putin ice cold muurder we must stop him before more people dies
The americans did this in Iraq. They called it shock and awe
  I used words "mostly" & "to avoid".  It's to convey the US goal & intent.  Not to say the US 100% succeeded in hitting no civilians.  It was a war, after all.
Right! So either Russia has very bad aim or they are intentionally targeting civilians.
Putin probably bombed Russian civilians, too:  "Some historians and journalists say the bombings [Russian apartment bombings of Sep 1999] were coordinated by Russian state security services to help bring Putin into the presidency." -- wikipedia
Putlers new leader Sergey Surovikins a ****he will ********more civilians i fear we will a more brutal war now god save the ukrainischen people
We must do everything now to stop this it’s insane now Belarus will step up and help Russia we have to stop this now
Putin might be using Sergey as a scapegoat for war crimes Putin wants to commit be don't want to directly give the commands for.  Putin don't believe in "the buck stops here", he has long history of blame and purge.
* be --> but
looking forward to see a dead putin with a bullet in his head
lol.. keep dreaming.
Literally or figuratively, this is his fate.
Yeah sooner than later
So, is it time to buy USD? Thank you.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
A tad late to the party
United States is not reliable so stay away from them.Next country after Ukraine will be Taiwan and Pakistan
Pakistan?  who wants to invade that dump?
@pankaj. I would like to see if you can maintain your view of sovereignty and humanity if Pakistan were to decide it would like to annex Kashmir. Something tells me you would sing a different song.
Excellent news.Never underestimate Old 🦁 Lion
Be sure to tell your children the atrocities you are cheering.
in putlers confused mind, murdering children bombing residential areas is not terrorism, where as bombing a bridge used to supply a war of aggression is..
It’s insane
putting moral issue aside, militarily speaking Putin is wasting his missiles attacking these civilian targets since this doesn't help his army at all.....at the very least he should be attacking train stations and power generation sites, what is the tactical logic in bombing apartment buildings?  At this point Ukrainians clearly are not going to surrender just because a few more civilian death.....
Putin is a bigger terrooorist tham bin laden
What a mess that little fat rat has started he is a ***day one he gave orders to hit civilians
How do you call destroying and bombing cities to the ground? That bridge has no right to be there.
Putin committed state terrorism when he invaded a sovereign nation, killed their civilians, illegally annexed their plans, and threatened nuclear Armageddon against anyone who dared to intervene like a common bully. Putin is on course to destroy Russia at this rate and he knows he's done f'd up.
Those bridges needed to be brought down.  Illegal immigrants from Russian keep entering Ukraine through them!
shhhh next thing you know Trump and Bannon are going to start raising fund to build a wall on their border
Triggered putin is getting cucked
So embarrassing how afraid US media is of sub human puketins response. He should be afraid of us
Hello hypocrisy
Who cares what putin say
So is it now we should be afraid of Putin the great ??? He will start ww3 because somebody stole his candy….give me a break…
So russian philodophy is who cares about Putins daily bom…bings on innocent people living peacefully but when a bomb is exploded revenge is required who are these people??
Long distance missil or heavy artillery from west is a redline say minister from Kreml are they afraid of a fair fight Russia have long distance weapons they just killed children and families this weekend
Russian redlines can f/k themselves
Unfortunately, the propoganda stuff doesnt work if the pain of daily cost of living is higher. Then, evolution takes over & some bright minds survive, which is the point of evolution. Its a waiting game.
There are things far more important than money traitor you don't even make sense
@beautiful/laxman/user-name-of-the-moment: You are not making yourself clear. Do you favor these attacks on civilians or do you not believe it?
 What do I have to gain from these 'attacks'? In the investing site, I come for updates that may be beneficial for "MY" portfolio. I am not here to make my mind on some websites that are biased similarly how I don't take Russian or Chinese news on the place. I have no time for these moral committees. There is at least a person dying few seconds someplace on earth. That's the way the world works.
When Ukraine retakes Crimea, this bridge will be completely demolished anyway. the russian losers might as well flee back home right now on whats left of it before they get their a**es handed to them again
Nice movie.
Yes it should be destroyed adap
The propaganda is thick* tonight
SHut up you putin loving traitor s c u m
The propanda is think tonight
The USA did that
so. ng up or down ....
I think they will have destroyed it all so not the USA
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