Ukraine war: at least five dead as Russia unleashes missile attacks across major cities

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Air raid sirens were sounded across Ukraine as the airstrikes knocked out power

Russia has launched a missile attack at targets across Ukraine, striking homes and energy infrastructure, including in the capital Kyiv, with at least five people killed.

Four people died in the Lviv region after a missile hit a residential area and three buildings were gutted by fire after the strike, governor Maksym Kozytskyi said. Rescue workers are combing through the rubble in search of more possible victims.

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A fifth person was killed and two others hurt in multiple strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region which targeted its energy infrastructure and industrial facilities, governor Serhii Lysak said.

The Russian attack - which included targets in Kyiv, the second biggest city of Kharkiv in the north, the Black Sea port of Odesa in the south, and Zhytomyr in the west - was the largest missile strike for three weeks, officials said.

Police inspect the site of fallen fragments of Russian rockets near a multi-storey residential building in Kyiv (Photo: Getty Images)Police inspect the site of fallen fragments of Russian rockets near a multi-storey residential building in Kyiv (Photo: Getty Images)
Police inspect the site of fallen fragments of Russian rockets near a multi-storey residential building in Kyiv (Photo: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Air raid sirens sounded through the night across Ukraine, including in the capital where explosions happened in two western areas of the city. The alarm was lifted in Kyiv just before 8am, with sirens falling silent after seven hours.

Defence systems were activated around the country and it is unclear how many missiles hit targets or were intercepted. The city’s administration said Kyiv was attacked with both missiles and exploding drones and that many were intercepted but its energy infrastructure was hit.

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Kyiv mayor and former professional boxer Vitali Klitschko said explosions were reported in the Holosiivskyi district of the city and two people were wounded in the Sviatoshynskyi district, also on the west side of the city, and cars were on fire.

The missile strike hit as Russia pushed its advance in Ukraine’s eastern stronghold of Bakhmut, where a fight between the two sides has gone on for six months and reduced the city to a smouldering wasteland.

Ukrainian forces are still attempted to fight off the advancing Russian troops. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, stated that Bakhmut - which has seen one of the longest sustained battles of the entire war so far - remains “a very important fortress” for Ukraine.

It also came hours after UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres visited Kyiv for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky on extending an agreement which allows Ukraine to ship grain from its Black Sea ports and permits Russia to export food and fertilisers.

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Smoke billows after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)Smoke billows after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
Smoke billows after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Private electricity operator DTEK said three of its power stations have been hit and while there were no casualties, the equipment was severely damaged. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which is occupied by Russian forces, also lost in the attacks, marking the sixth time the station has been in a state of blackout since it was taken over by Russia months ago.

Nuclear state operator Energoatom said it was forced to rely on 18 diesel generators which can run the station for 10 days. Nuclear plants need constant power to run cooling systems and avoid a meltdown.

Ukraine’s energy minister Herman Halushchenko condemned the missile strikes as “another barbaric massive attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine”, saying in a Facebook post that facilities in Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions have been targeted.

In eastern Ukraine, 15 missiles hit Kharkiv and the outlying northeastern region, hitting residential buildings, according to governor Oleh Syniehubov, and Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram there were “problems with electricity” in some parts of the city.

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Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said homes were hit and several power lines were damaged in strikes on his southern region, adding that six missiles and one drone were shot down.

Ukrainian Railways also reported power outages in some areas, with 15 trains delayed up to an hour. Preventive emergency power cuts were applied in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Odesa regions, supplier DTEK said.

Mayor Klitschko said 40% of consumers in Kyiv were without heating because of the emergency power cuts, but water supplies were uninterrupted.

More explosions were reported in the northern city of Chernihiv and the western Lviv region, as well as in the cities of Dnipro, Lutsk and Rivne. Ukrainian media also report explosions in the western regions of Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil.

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Russian missile attacks have been hitting Ukraine since last October, with the strikes initially targeting the country’s energy infrastructure weekly. The attacks became more spread out over time, sparking speculation that Moscow may be saving up ammunition. The last huge barrage took place on 16 February.

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