After earlier strikes, the Ukrainian military reported shooting down Russian missiles and explosive drones, but some still hit their targets, damaging power and water supplies and increasing the suffering of the population in the midst of freezing temperatures.
On Thursday, air defense systems were activated in the capital Kyiv to fend off the ongoing missile attack, according to the regional administration. Sounds of explosions were heard in the city.
At least three people were injured and hospitalized, including a 14-year-old girl, Mayor Klitschko said.
Numerous explosions also took place in Kharkiv, which is in eastern Ukraine and the country’s second-largest city, and in the city of Lviv, near the Polish border, according to its mayors.
About 90% of Lviv was without electricity, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi wrote on Telegram. Trams and trolleybuses were not working and residents could experience water cuts, he said.
Ukrainian authorities in several regions said that some incoming Russian missiles were intercepted.
The governor of Mykolaiv province in southern Ukraine, Vitaliy Kim, said five missiles were shot down over the Black Sea. The command of the Ukrainian Army North said two were shot down in the Sumy region, located on the border with Russia in the north-east of the country.
Fragments of downed Russian missiles damaged two private buildings in Kyiv’s Darnytskyi district, the city administration said. An industrial facility and a playground in neighborhoods across the Dnieper River were also damaged, city officials said. No casualties were immediately reported.
As the latest wave of Russian attacks began on Thursday, authorities in the Dnipro, Odessa and Kryvyi Rih regions said they cut power to minimize damage to critical infrastructure facilities if they were attacked.
Earlier this month, the United States agreed to give a Patriot missile battery Ukraine to boost the country’s defense. The United States and other allies have also pledged to provide energy-related equipment to help Ukraine resist attacks on its infrastructure.
Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, said Russia was aiming to “destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse.”
“We are waiting for more proposals from ‘peacemakers’ on ‘peaceful settlements’, ‘security guarantees for RF’ and the undesirability of provocations,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter, a sarcastic reference to statements by some in the West who urged Ukraine to seek a political solution to the conflict.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday his nation wants a “peace” summit within two months at the United Nations with Secretary General António Guterres as mediator. Kuleba said Russia must face a war crimes tribunal before his country speaks directly to Moscow. He said, however, that other nations should feel free to compromise with the Russians.
Commenting on the summit proposal on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed it as “delusional” and “hollow”, describing the proposal as a “publicity stunt by Washington trying to present the regime of Kyiv as a peacemaker”.
“It is an attempt to give a semblance of legitimacy to a pointless discussion that will not be followed by any concrete steps,” Zakharova said during a briefing.
Russian officials have said that any peace plan can only come from Kyiv’s recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over regions it illegally annexed from Ukraine in September.