Russia has launched a large round of missile attacks across Ukraine as Moscow rejected a Ukrainian peace plan and kept up its attacks on infrastructure.
Targets from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the east, came under fire. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said more than 120 Russian missiles had been launched, while the Ukrainian army command said Russia launched 69 missiles from land, sea and air, 54 of which it said were shot down.
The Ukrainian defence ministry wrote on Twitter that the strikes on Thursday morning constituted “one of the most massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion”.
Ukrainians rushed to bomb shelters as air raid sirens sounded across the country, during the attacks that left many areas without electricity.
Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said at least three people in the capital were hospitalised with injuries, including a 14-year-old girl. He said 40% of the city’s residents were without electricity as a result of the attacks, but hot water and heating capacity was not affected.
Klitschko asked people in Kyiv to ensure they had adequate supplies of water and that their electronic devices were charged.
Authorities in Dnipro, Odesa and Kryvyi Rih regions said they had taken the decision to switch off electricity to minimise damage to critical infrastructure facilities if they were hit. The mayor of Lviv said 90% of the city was without electricity and trams were not running.
Late on Thursday morning, the all-clear sounded in Kyiv, and authorities there and in Lviv said they hoped to restore electricity supply quickly. Podolyak said Russia was aiming to “destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse”.
Since the Kremlin’s advance in eastern Ukraine ground to a halt over the summer and the Russian army was forced to retreat from Kherson after a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive, Moscow’s strategy has pivoted towards targeting Ukrainian infrastructure, to inflict maximum pain on the population over the cold winter.
“Russia does not want peace with Ukraine. Russia wants the subjugation of Ukraine,” Melinda Simmons, Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine, wrote on Twitter in response to the latest attacks.
Zelenskiy has mooted a 10-point peace plan that involves Russia fully withdrawing from Ukrainian territory, which has been rejected by Russia. The Ukrainians have also suggested a peace summit be held at the United Nations in February.
Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed the summit idea on Thursday, calling it “delirious” and “a publicity stunt by Washington”.
On Wednesday, Zelenskiy addressed Ukraine’s parliament, giving an annual speech looking ahead to the coming year, in which he vowed that Ukraine would win the war. In a video address to citizens on Wednesday evening, he urged Ukrainians to hug their loved ones and offer love and support to those around them as New Year’s Eve approaches.
“We have not lost our humanity, although we have endured terrible months,” he said. “And we will not lose it, although there is a difficult year ahead.”
Source: The Guardian