Russia targets Kyiv and Ukraine’s cities as Putin warns of further strikes

At least 11 people killed after reports of large rush-hour explosions Ukraine

David Harding,Arpan Rai
Monday 10 October 2022 15:59 BST
Zelensky claims Russian occupiers 'trying to escape' liberated Ukraine regions

Russia bombed the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and a host of other cities across the country on Monday morning in a massive series of rush-hour attacks in apparent revenge for the explosions on a Crimean bridge over the weekend.

At least 11 people were killed and more than 60 injured across the country in initial casualty figures given by Ukraine authorities. Eight of the fatalities were in Kyiv.

Among the locations struck by Russian missiles were a playground, public park and pedestrian bridge. Moscow said it had hit all “assigned targets”.

Among the buildings hit was a German consulate building.

The hits came just hours after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin described the attack in Crimea as “act of terrorism” and blamed Ukraine. Later on Monday, he also warned of further attacks on Ukraine at a security council meeting and officials spoke of wanting to replace the regime in Ukraine.

Explosions were also reported in the cities of Lviv, Odessa Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Ternopil, Kremenchuk and Dnipro, as well as overnight strikes in Zaporizhzhia.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said the attacks showed that President Vladimir Putin “is a terrorist who talks with missiles”.

The attack on Kyiv is thought to have been the largest on the capital since the beginning of the war back in February.

Gruesome images showed the body of a man in jeans laying apparently dead in a street at a busy intersection, surrounded by flaming cars in the aftermath of one attack. A soldier cut through the clothes of a woman who lay in the grass to try to treat her wounds. A huge crater was ripped in the mud next to a playground in a central Kyiv park.

“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth... destroy our people who are sleeping at home in Zaporizhzhia. Kill people who go to work in Dnipro and Kyiv,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the Telegram messaging app.

An injured man receives medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv
An injured man receives medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv (AP)

“The air raid sirens do not subside throughout Ukraine. There are missiles hitting. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded.”

He added that Russian forces launched dozens of missiles and Iranian-built drones against Ukraine.

The targets were civilian areas and energy facilities in 10 cities and were targeted to “inflict the most damage”, said Zelensky.

While air raid sirens have continued throughout the war, in Kyiv there have been months of calm and many Ukrainians had begun to ignore their warnings and go about their normal business. That all changed on Monday morning.

At one of Kyiv’s busiest road junctions, a massive crater had been blown in the road. Cars were destroyed and buildings damaged. Two cars and a van near the crater were completely wrecked, blacked and pitted from shrapnel.

An injured man speaks on his mobile at a site of a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
An injured man speaks on his mobile at a site of a Russian missile strike in Kyiv (REUTERS)

Windows had been blown out of buildings at Kyiv’s main Taras Shevchenko University. National Guard troops in full combat gear and carrying assault rifles were lined up outside an education union building.

“The capital is under attack from Russian terrorists! The missiles hit objects in the city centre (in the Shevchenkivskyi district) and in the Solomyanskyi district. The air raids sirens are going off, and therefore the threat, continues,” mayor Vitali Klitschko posted on social media.

Local reports said that at least four explosions were heard from the city centre. The attack on the Ukrainian capital comes after months of calm with a majority of Russian offensive concentrated on the besieged country’s northeast, south and frontlines.

Cars burn after Russian military strikes in central Kyiv
Cars burn after Russian military strikes in central Kyiv (REUTERS)

The last reported attack on Kyiv was recorded in June. Further air raid sirens sounded across the capital in the afternoon.

The attacks brought a chorus of outrage across the world.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “extreme concern, as the strikes caused civilian casualties” and renewed his pledge of more military aid for Ukraine.

The head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, called the attacks “horrific and indiscriminate”, while British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that “Russia’s firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable”.

India, which has criticised Putin’s invasion, said it was “deeply concerned” at the escalation of conflict in Ukraine, and willing to support all attempts at de-escalation.

Monday’s strikes followed the explosion which damaged the only bridge over the Kerch Strait to the Crimea peninsula, which Putin on Sunday called “an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure”.

“This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services,” he said in a video on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the blast on the bridge but has celebrated it. Senior Russian officials demanded a swift response from the Kremlin ahead of a meeting of Putin’s security council on Monday.

People receive medical treatment after Russian shelling in Kyiv
People receive medical treatment after Russian shelling in Kyiv (AP)

The bridge is a major supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and a symbol of Russia’s control of Crimea, the peninsula it proclaimed annexed after its troops seized it in 2014.

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said ahead of the meeting that Russia should kill the “terrorists” responsible for the attack.

“Russia can only respond to this crime by directly killing terrorists, as is the custom elsewhere in the world. This is what Russian citizens expect,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency Tass.

He also said that Moscow should “aim for the complete dismantling of Ukraine’s political regime” and that “the Ukrainian state in its current configuration with the Nazi political regime will continue to pose a permanent, direct and clear threat to Russia”.

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