KYIV, Ukraine — Russia hit Ukraine’s energy facilities on Tuesday with its largest-ever missile salvo, hitting targets across the country and causing widespread power outages, and a US official said. learned that the missile had flown over Poland, a NATO member, killing two people.
A defiant Ukrainian President, Volodymr Zelenskyy swung his fist and declared: “We will survive anything.”
Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller did not immediately confirm the information from a senior US intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation. But Mueller said top leaders were holding an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation”.
Polish media reported two people died on Tuesday afternoon after a bullet hit a grain drying area in Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.
Neighboring Moldova was also affected. An official said they had reported widespread power outages after strikes cut the main power line supplying the small country.
Zelenskyy said Russia had fired at least 85 missiles, “most of them aimed at our energy infrastructure” and caused power outages in many cities.
“We are working, will restore everything. His energy minister said the attack was the “largest-scale” bombardment of energy facilities in Russia’s nearly nine-month invasion, hitting both transmission and power generation systems.
Minister Herman Haluschenko described the missile attack as “another attempt at revenge against terrorists” following the Kremlin’s military and diplomatic failures. He accused Russia of “trying to do maximum damage to our energy system on the eve of winter”.
The aerial attack, which resulted in at least one death in a residential building in the capital Kyiv, comes after days of euphoria in Ukraine due to one of the country’s greatest military successes – retaking the city. Kherson Street last week.
The power grid has been devastated by previous attacks that destroyed about 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not commented on the withdrawal from Kherson since his troops withdrew in the face of a Ukrainian attack. But the staggering scale of Tuesday’s strikes speaks volumes and hints at anger in the Kremlin.
By striking the targets late in the afternoon, shortly before dusk began to fall, the Russian military forced rescuers to work in the dark and gave repair crews little time to recover. damage assessment under daylight.
More than a dozen regions – among them Lviv to the west, Kharkiv to the northeast and others in between – reported attacks or attempts by their air defenses to shoot down the missile. . At least dozens of areas have reported power outages, affecting cities of millions. Authorities said nearly half of the Kiev region was without power. Railways of Ukraine announced train delays across the country.
Zelenskyy warned that more strikes could happen and urged people to stay safe and seek shelter.
“Most of the hits are recorded in the central and northern parts of the country. In the capital, the situation is very difficult,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official.
He said a total of 15 energy targets had been damaged and claimed that 70 missiles had been shot down. A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia used X-101 and X-555 cruise missiles.
As city after city reported attacks, Tymoshenko urged the Ukrainian people to “hold on”.
With battlefield losses on the rise, Russia increasingly targets Ukraine’s power grid, seemingly hoping to turn the approaching winter into a weapon by leaving its people in darkness and cold.
In Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said authorities had found a body in one of three residential buildings attacked in the capital, where electricity supplier DTEK also reported an emergency power outage.
Video released by a presidential aide showed a five-story residential building in Kiev on fire, flames engulfing apartments. Klitschko said air defense units also shot down several missiles.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra went to a bomb shelter in Kyiv after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart and from safety described the bombardment as “a great impetus to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder” with Ukraine.
“There can only be one answer, and that is: Continue. Let’s continue to support Ukraine, continue to supply weapons, continue to do accountability, continue to provide humanitarian assistance,” he said.
Ukraine has experienced a period of relative calm since the previous wave of drone and missile attacks a few weeks ago.
The strikes come as authorities are doing their best to get Kherson back on his feet and begin investigating allegations of Russian abuse there and the surrounding area.
The southern city has no electricity and water, and the head of the UN human rights office’s monitoring mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, on Tuesday condemned a “catastrophic humanitarian situation” there.
Speaking from Kyiv, Bogner said her teams are looking to go to Kherson to try to verify allegations of nearly 80 cases of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention.
The head of Ukraine’s National Police, Igor Klymenko, said authorities will begin investigating reports from Kherson residents that Russian forces have set up at least three alleged torture sites in the the now liberated area of the wider Kherson area and that “our people could have been detained and tortured there.”
The recapture of Kherson dealt another blow to the Kremlin. Zelenskyy likened the recapture to the Allied landings in France on D-Day in World War II, saying both were landmark events on the road to eventual victory.
However, much of eastern and southern Ukraine remains under Russian control and fighting continues.
Zelenskyy warns of more grim news ahead.
“Everywhere, when we liberated our land, we saw one thing – Russia left behind torture chambers and mass burials. … How many mass graves in the territory are still under Russian control?” Zelenskyy asked the question.
Associated Press writers Joanna Kozlowska in London, Jamey Keaten in Geneva, Mike Corder in The Hague, Hanna Arhirova in Kherson, Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, and James LaPorta in Wilmington, North Carolina, contributed to this story.
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