Ukraine hails air defenses after heavy Russian missile strikes

KYIV, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Russia rained long-range missiles on Ukraine on Monday, killing two people, destroying homes in the southeast and causing power cuts, but Kyiv said its defenses air had limited the damage.

Air raid sirens sounded across the country and men, women and children crowded into the capital’s cavernous subway system for shelter in the last major wave of missile strikes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Moscow has been targeting Ukraine’s power grid in intense waves of attacks since October, and state-owned energy company Ukrenergo, which operates the national power grid, said more infrastructure had been hit on Monday.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal later said that energy facilities were hit in the regions of Kyiv, Vinnytsia in central-western Ukraine and Odessa in the south, but the Ukrainian energy system was still functioning.

The Air Force said more than 60 of more than 70 missiles fired at Ukraine were shot down.

“Our guys are awesome,” Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential staff chief, wrote on Telegram.

Kyiv, a city of around 3 million people, appears to have escaped serious damage, although the governor of Kyiv region said 40% of people in the region were left without power after infrastructure unspecified were affected.

After an hour-long air raid warning ended, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told his fellow Ukrainians that air defenses had “shot down most of the missiles”. Kyiv officials said nine of the 10 missiles fired at the capital were shot down.

AIR STRIKES HAVE BEEN PLANNED

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said missiles crashed into buildings in Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, destroying several houses and killing two people. Three people were injured, including a small child, he said.

The water supply in the Odessa region had been interrupted as all pumping stations and reserve lines lost power, the regional water company announced on Telegram.

The new attacks had been announced for days. They finally arrived with the temperature in Kyiv minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). Residents had just been notified that the emergency power cuts were over after repairing previous damage.

Military intelligence official Andriy Yusov said the attacks mainly hit “civilian infrastructure, mainly energy infrastructure”.

US Ambassador Bridget Brink said the attacks on civilian infrastructure “clarify Russia’s cruel strategy: to bring its war into every Ukrainian home”.

Russian forces have increasingly targeted Ukrainian energy facilities as they face setbacks on the battlefield, causing power outages as winter approaches.

Disruptions to the electricity supply in neighboring Moldova have been reported by the electricity company Moldelectrica. He later said no consumers had lost power and the risk of further blackouts had passed.

Moldovan police found fragments of a missile that fell in an area of ‚Äč‚Äčnorthern Moldova near the border with Ukraine, state news portal Prima Sursa quoted the police as saying.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Max Hunder, Olena Harmash and Alexander Tanas; Written by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Howard Goller

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