Russia Fired 84 Missiles, 14 Dead, Says Ukraine; “Massive Strike,” Says Putin


Moscow: Mass retaliatory Russian strikes across Ukraine today killed 14 people and injured dozens more. Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was hit by multiple Russian strikes today – the first since late June.

According to Ukraine’s Prime Minster Denys Shmygal, 11 “important infrastructure facilities” had been damaged across eight regions and Kyiv. “It is necessary to be prepared for temporary power, water and communication cuts,” he said on social media.

Ukraine’s army said Russia launched 84 cruise missiles at them, two days after a large explosion damaged a bridge connecting Russia to Crimea in an attack Moscow blamed on Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the series of strikes showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “desperate because of battlefield defeats” after recent gains by Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s former President Dmitry Medvedev warned the retaliatory mass strikes were only the “first episode”. “The first episode has been played. There will be others,” Mr Medvedev, now deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said on social media.

Ukraine alleged Moscow used Iranian-made drones sent from neighbouring Belarus as part of the multiple deadly strikes. “The enemy used Iranian Shahed-136 UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in strikes launched from Belarus” and the Crimean peninsula, the Ukraine military said in a statement on Facebook, adding nine drones were “destroyed”.

Mr Putin said the strikes knocked out Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. “This morning, on the advice of the defence ministry and according to a plan from the general staff, a massive strike was carried out with high-precision, long-range weapons…on energy, military command and communications facilities in Ukraine,” Mr Putin said during a meeting with his Security Council.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Russian strikes across Ukraine and against civilians signalled a “profound change” in the conduct of the war. The “deliberate strikes by Russia over the whole of Ukraine’s territory and against civilians, it’s a profound change in the nature of this war,” Mr Macron told reporters during a trip to the Mayenne region of France.

In another related escalation, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Mr Putin, said Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine were training Belarusian “radicals” for terror attacks, after announcing plans to deploy joint troops with Moscow.

The three countries, of which Lithuania and Poland are European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) members, share a border with Belarus.

The EU believes Russia’s missile attacks on civilians in Ukraine “amounts to a war crime,” a spokesman for the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said today. “Indiscriminately targeting people in a cowardly, heinous hail of missiles on civilian targets is indeed a further escalation,” the spokesman, Peter Stano, said.


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