Russia unleashed a devastating barrage of missile strikes Monday morning throughout Ukraine, striking all major cities including Kyiv in apparent revenge for the attack on a key bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland.
Some 83 missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities, including several that struck the capital, where at least eight people were killed and some missiles struck just blocks from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office building. The fierce and coordinated blitz appeared to be retaliation for Saturday’s bombing of the strategic Kerch Bridge.
Ukraine News reported five missiles struck the center of Kyiv and another strike took out what it described as a “thermal power plant” in Lviv.
“There is no power in Lviv and internet not working Internet traffic in Ukraine has dropped by 75%,” the site reported in a tweet. The site claimed the European Union was evacuating personnel from the country.
#Lviv : Russian missile strikes hit the thermal power plant.
There is no power in Lviv and internet not working
Internet traffic in Ukraine has dropped by 75% ⬇️⬇️
EU has asked all it's embassy staff to vacate #Ukraine as fast as possible. ⚠️⚠️⚠️ pic.twitter.com/Habfp1a3LX
— UkraineNews (@Ukraine66251776) October 10, 2022
Social media was flooded Monday morning with videos and images from Kyiv showing damaged buildings, dead bodies, and burning cars. Black smoke was seen billowing upward from the destroyed power plant in Lviv, Ukraine’s seventh-largest city and just 45 miles from the Polish border to the west.
Zelensky, who surveyed the destruction on the streets of Kyiv early Monday, said Russia was targeting civilians in order to “sow panic and chaos.”
“They are trying to wipe us off the face of the earth,” he said.
The Ukrainian military said 75 Russian missiles had been fired at cities throughout the nation, which Russia invaded in February. Zelensky said missiles, rockets and drones had been used on major cities including Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Sumy, and even the western cities of Ternopil and Lviv.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said 11 key infrastructure facilities were hit, although he did not give further details. Cities throughout the beleaguered nation reported power outages and water shortages.
Thermo Power Plant-6 in Kiev hit pic.twitter.com/fCK6lRDwWt
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) October 10, 2022
The withering offensive was likely Russian President Vladimir Putin’s retaliation for the Saturday bombing of the 11-mile-long bridge connecting Crimea, the prized peninsula Russia reclaimed in 2014 but remains disputed territory, to the Russian mainland. A visibly enraged Putin called the bridge attack an “act of terrorism.”
“There is no doubt,” Putin said Sunday, hours before the devastating operation. “This is an act of terrorism aimed at destroying critically important civilian infrastructure.”
A member of the Russian parliament, Alexander Baskin, warned that Russia’s response would be “asymmetric,” saying the bridge attack was “a declaration of war without rules,” the Mirror reported.
Putin, who is under increasing pressure in Russia as his war on Ukraine continues to go badly, blamed Ukrainian special forces for blowing up the bridge. His increasingly volatile state has sparked international fears he could use nuclear weapons against the neighboring country, especially after he reminded the world in a video address that the U.S. had used nukes on Japan to bring World War II to an end.