Russia launched a missile strike on Ukrainian cities on Monday, stepping up attacks on infrastructure across the country.
Explosions and air raid sirens were heard in Kiev early Monday, leaving 80% of residents without water and many without electricity, the capital’s mayor Vitaly Klitschko said in a telegram after Russian strikes.
One of the strikes hit an energy facility that supplied electricity to 350,000 apartments in the capital, Klitschko said, adding that emergency services were working to restore power and “stabilize the situation as soon as possible.”
Attacks on critical infrastructure were also reported in central Cherkasy and Kirovohrad regions, eastern Kharkiv region and southern Zaforizha region.
The wave of strikes came after Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Crimean city of Sevastopol over the weekend. Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014 and has controlled the territory ever since.
Klitschko urged residents of the capital to stock up on water from shops and pumping stations after the attack on a nearby power plant.
“Currently, due to damage to an energy facility near Kyiv, 80% of the capital’s consumers remain without water supply,” he said in a telegram. “Only in that case, we ask you to stock up on water at the nearest pumps and outlets. Specialists are doing their best to return water to the apartments of Kyiv residents.
He later said supplies would be restored to the capital’s east bank and part of the west bank within hours. He added that the electricity supply in the Desnianskyi district had been “partially restored”.
Speaking to CNN in Kyiv, 31-year-old Yana Lysenko said: “Monday morning started out horribly, as usual. I have a 4-year-old, so of course I’m stressed.
“Right now we don’t have water, but we have electricity. We hope that the services will restore everything very soon. Our spirit is very high and we are waiting for the victory. Such acts of terrorism targeting water and electricity supply, I think, do not scare people anymore.
Viktor Halashan, 70, told CNN he remains positive despite not having water.
“Not having water is good, we can deal with it,” he said, adding that he hoped Ukraine’s “soldiers will soon bring us closer to victory.”
Oleksandr Nechepuriak, a local office worker, told CNN that 15 people were collecting water.
“It’s important to keep (the) office running,” said Nechepuriak, who works in food production.
“We will resolve this,” he said, adding that “there are no other options.”
Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko described the attacks as “barbaric” and said on Facebook: “Electricity substations, hydroelectric and heat generation facilities were hit by rocket fire.”
He added: “This massive attack has resulted in partial power outages and emergency blackout schedules for consumers in Kyiv, Cherkasy (and) Zaporozhye and Cherkasy, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Zaporozhye and Poltava.” regions”.
Water supplies in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, were also affected by the infrastructure facility, and most metro trains were suspended, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said in a telegram.
“The impact fell on a critical infrastructure facility, resulting in the disconnection of metro and ground electric transport,” he said. “Currently, we managed to launch the Kholodnohirsko-Zavodska (metro) line, we replaced trolleybuses and trams with buses.
Terekhov said that engineers are “doing everything possible to restore water supply to the homes of Kharkiv residents as soon as possible.”
Two rockets hit Kharkiv on Monday morning, the mayor told Telegram earlier.
And in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, one rocket hit an industrial plant, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said in a telegram.
“During the morning missile attack, two missiles were shot down (by air defense forces) and one cruise missile hit an industrial plant,” he said. No casualties were reported.
Monday’s strikes hit 10 regions and damaged 18 facilities, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said via Telegram.
“Their target was not military facilities, but civilian critical infrastructure,” Shmyhal said. “Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, damaging 18 facilities, most of them energy-related.
He said “hundreds of settlements in seven regions” had lost power and engineers were “working at full capacity” to repair the damage.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia fired more than 50 cruise missiles into Ukraine on Monday and said it intercepted 44 of them.
“October 31 7 o’clock In the morning, the Russian occupiers launched several waves of missile attacks against the most important infrastructure facilities in Ukraine,” the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported.
“More than 50 X-101/X-555 cruise missiles were launched from strategic aviation missile-carrying aircraft Tu-95/Tu-160 north of the Caspian Sea and Volgodonsk region (Rostov region). The Ukrainian military destroyed 44 cruise missiles,” the air force said in a statement.
Early on Monday, at least 10 Russian missiles were shot down over Kyiv, regional police chief Andrijus Nebytovs reported via Telegram.
“Kyiv regional police are now finding debris from the downed rockets of the occupiers in various parts of the region,” he said. “Air defense forces shot down at least 10 enemy missiles.
Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv regional military administration, said the strikes “hit critical infrastructure” and injured two people, one seriously.
Monday’s missiles were fired from Soviet-era Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers that took off from Russia’s Rostov region and over the Caspian Sea, a spokesman for Ukraine’s air force command said on television.
Yuriy Ihnat said there had been “several waves of missile launches” and reiterated that Ukraine shot down a “really high percentage”.
Moscow defended the attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a cable on Monday that it had targeted Ukraine’s “military command and energy systems”.
“The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continued to conduct high-precision, long-range air and naval strikes against Ukraine’s military command and energy systems,” it said. “Applied to all assigned objects.”
In recent weeks, Russia has launched a flurry of attacks against Ukraine’s electricity and heating infrastructure.
Even before Monday’s strikes, the situation was dire. On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said power had been cut to about four million Ukrainians following attacks on energy infrastructure that day.
The infrastructure attack is part of a larger plan by President Vladimir Putin, Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, told CNN last week.
“Putin’s game plan is obvious: he wants this winter to be the coldest and darkest in Ukraine’s history,” she said.
“He will continue to hit infrastructure networks to displace Ukraine’s electricity and heat.” His kamikaze drone attacks are designed to break the will of the Ukrainian people and cause panic.
Monday’s attacks came after Russia suspended its participation in a United Nations-brokered grain deal that is seen as key to solving global food shortages. Moscow announced on Saturday that it was withdrawing from the agreement, blaming Ukraine for the drone attack in Crimea. Kyiv accused Russia of concocting “bogus terrorist attacks” and using the deal as “blackmail”.
In a regular briefing with reporters on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Black Sea grain deal is “risky” and “dangerous” if Russia cannot ensure shipping security.
Asked if it was possible to continue the grain deal without Russia’s participation, Peskov said that without Russia ensuring the security of shipping in these areas, “such an agreement is hardly possible.”