Zelenskyy says Russia targeting civilians, energy infrastructure
The Ukrainian president says power facilities around the country were also targeted in a wave of attacks that left at least eight people reported dead in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says civilians have been killed in a barrage of deadly missile and drone attacks, as he accused Russia of targeting the country’s energy infrastructure in addition to its people in attacks across several cities, including the capital Kyiv.
The biggest wave of attacks across Ukraine in months killed at least eight people in Kyiv alone and came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kyiv for a deadly blast on the Kerch Bridge that connects Russia to the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed in 2014.
“This morning is difficult. We are dealing with terrorists. Dozens of missiles and Iranian Shaheds. They have two targets. Energy facilities throughout the country,” Zelenskyy said in a video address on social media, adding that “the second target is people”.
Explosions have rocked Kyiv in the heaviest missile attacks on Ukraine’s capital since Russia launched its invasion.
President Putin says it’s retaliation for Crimea's damaged Kerch bridge ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/TeFJ2KB5RF
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 10, 2022
The dozens of missile and drone attacks across Ukraine, including rare attacks on Kyiv and the western region of Lviv, knocked out power and heat, in apparent revenge for the attack on the Kerch Bridge on Saturday.
A huge crater gaped next to a children’s playground in a central Kyiv park. The remains of an apparent missile were buried, smoking in the mud.
Zelenskyy said attacks also took place in Dnipro, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk in central Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia in the south and the Kharkiv and Sumy regions in the east, among others.
His prime minister said 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions, leaving swaths of the country with no power, water or heat.
He recorded his statement in front of the Presidential Office in Kyiv, several kilometres away from the location where attacks took place just hours before.
“They seek panic and chaos,” Zelenskyy said. “But we are Ukrainians. Helping each other. We believe in ourselves. We restore everything that was destroyed. There may be temporary power outages now, but there will never be an interruption in our confidence – our confidence in victory,” Zelenskyy added.
Zelenskyy called on residents to stay in air raid shelters and abide by the advice of local authorities.
The explosions began at about 8:15am (05:15 GMT), with air raid sirens sounding in the Ukrainian capital more than an hour before the blasts.
Part of the far-western Ukrainian city of Lviv is without power after energy infrastructure was damaged in a Russian attack, the mayor said.
“Due to the lack of electricity, the operation of the city’s combined heat and power plant has been temporarily suspended,” mayor Andriy
Sadovyi said on Telegram. As a result, he said, there is no hot water.
There was no immediate word from Moscow on what it was targeting. Russia has denied in the past that it deliberately targets civilians. In an address today, Putin said the attacks were aimed at “energy, military command and communications facilities in Ukraine”.
Zelenskyy said he had spoken with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron to urge a tough response against Moscow in the wake of the deadly attacks.
Al Jazeera’s Rory Challand, reporting from Kyiv, said the capital “hasn’t experienced anything like this in months”.
“People stopped paying attention to the air raid sirens, so it’s a very, very different reality this Monday morning,” Challand added.
“In fact, I would say nothing like this has happened since the start of the war, and even at the beginning of the war, there weren’t as many central strikes as have taken place today.”
The attacks come a day after Putin blamed Ukraine for the explosion on Kerch Bridge. At least three people were killed in the bomb blast.
Ukrainian forces retook large areas around Kyiv in early April after Russia abandoned its push towards the capital.
The Russian president has come under increasing pressure after suffering a series of military setbacks in recent weeks.
He continued reshuffling his military leadership, appointing a new general to lead the war.