KYIV, Ukraine — A barrage of Russian missile strikes hit parts of Ukraine on Wednesday afternoon and evening, killing at least six people and cutting off power to the capital Kyiv and other regions, as well as parts of neighboring Moldova, in what appeared to be one of the most disruptive waves of attacks. weeks ago.
The strikes sent plumes of smoke billowing into the sky over Kyiv as Ukrainian air defense systems worked to shoot down incoming missiles.
“We have confirmation that critical infrastructure facilities have been hit in several regions,” the deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said in a statement.
Ukraine’s air force said the strikes were carried out by missile carrier planes from the Volgodonsk region in the Rostov region and from the Caspian Sea, as well as from two small missile boats from the Black Sea. In all, Russia launched some 70 cruise missiles, the air force said, of which 51 were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
In addition, in southern Ukraine, five attack drones were shot down, the Air Force said.
From Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the northeast, officials report that electricity, water and other key services have been cut off, and many trains are experiencing delays. Moldova was also experiencing “massive power outages across the country,” Infrastructure Minister Andrej Spino wrote on Facebook. The Soviet-era electrical systems of Moldova are still interconnected with those of Ukraine, its western neighbour.
Russia stepped up its air attacks on Ukraine’s energy system in October after a series of battlefield losses, in an effort to plunge the country into darkness and cold as winter approaches. Although the strikes were crippling, they did not stop the Ukrainian military advance, which forced Moscow to withdraw from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine two weeks ago.
Ukraine’s energy ministry said that as a result of Wednesday’s attacks, “the vast majority of electricity consumers across the country have been cut off.”
At least one Russian missile has hit what the Kyiv regional governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, described as an important infrastructure facility there, without elaborating. A two-story apartment building was also hit, and at least one person died. A total of 20 people were injured in the strikes, Mr. Kuleba said.
The capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said on Telegram that some areas were without electricity, and “the water supply has been suspended throughout Kyiv”. He said three people were killed, including a 17-year-old girl, and advised people to stay in shelters.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, said six people were killed and 36 wounded. It was not clear whether the figure related to the Kyiv region or the whole country.
The state-owned nuclear power company, Energoatom, said on Telegram on Wednesday that Ukrainian authorities have disconnected three nuclear power plants from the country’s electricity grid due to power supply disruptions. The company said radiation levels at the plants – in Rivne, Khmelnytsk and southern Ukraine – remained normal, and that the plants were able to use internal power supplies.
For many Ukrainians, the latest wave of attacks has disrupted daily life, which has already taken on a new rhythm since the start of the all-out Russian invasion.
In Kyiv, at a hilltop cemetery, the burial of Serhiy Mironov, a Ukrainian soldier recently killed in action, was in progress when the first explosions began. A crowd of more than 100 people waiting to dump dirt into the grave looked up at the sky. “Air defenses,” one woman said.
In the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, subway service has stopped and people have been evacuated from subway trains after power outages, said the mayor, Ihor Terekov.
In the city center of Dnipro, traffic lights were turned off and buses were stopped after explosions were heard near the city at around 2:30 pm local time. An hour earlier, at least one cruise missile had been seen flying north of the city.
The hail of rocket-propelled grenades sent crowds into a neighborhood supermarket, and his birth made him a rare bright spot in a city plunged into darkness. Oleg, a construction worker who declined to give his last name due to security concerns, said he had expected power to be restored soon.
But the crowds of people in the shop, many of them buying water and bread, seem to indicate that some citizens of Dnipro have been preparing for a long time without electricity. “Usually blackouts here last two or three hours,” said Oleg. “I think the energy will be restored by morning, people need to cook.”
Mark Santora reported from Kyiv, Thomas Gibbons Neff From Dnipro, Ukraine, and Matthew Mbok Begg from London.