Russian Missiles Hit Ukrainian Capital Kyiv, Other Cities

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Deadly Russian missile strikes hit Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, on Monday, part of what Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted was a “massive strike” against Ukraine in response to the destructive weekend attack on the bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland.

The Ukrainian military said Russia launched a barrage of 75 missiles, hitting at least 10 different areas of the country. Most of the attacks on Kyiv hit the center of the city, killing at least five people and wounding 12 others in populated areas, including parks and tourist sites. Ukraine said at least five more were killed elsewhere in the country.

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Putin told a meeting of his security council that the strikes targeted Ukraine’s energy, military and communications infrastructure, and that they were in response to an attack Saturday on a bridge linking Russia to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow illegally seized in 2014. “It is obvious that the Ukrainian secret services ordered, organized and carried out the terrorist attack aimed at destroying Russia’s critical civilian infrastructure,” Putin said.

Aside from Kyiv, explosions were also reported in the western city of Lviv, the central city of Dnipro and the eastern city of Kharkiv. Ukraine’s military said it shot down 41 of the Russian missiles.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia targeted civilian areas as well as power systems throughout the country, seeking to generate “panic and chaos” and to destroy Ukraine’s energy system.He said he would be addressing an urgent meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and discussed the situation with both German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron. Germany said the meeting will take place Tuesday.

“We discussed the strengthening of our air defense, the need for a tough European and international reaction, as well as increased pressure on the Russian Federation,” Zelenskyy tweeted after his talks with Macron.

Macron’s office said he reaffirmed France’s commitment to increase support for Ukraine, including military aid.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the Russian missile attack, saying, “Shocked and appalled by the vicious attacks on Ukrainian cities. Putin’s Russia has again shown the world what it stands for: brutality and terror.” The U.S. State Department said, “Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine on this awful day.”European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was “deeply shocked” by Russia’s attack on Kyiv and other cities. “Such acts have no place in 21st century. I condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” Borrell tweeted. “We stand with Ukraine. Additional military support from the EU is on its way.”

Kyiv was last attacked in June. Once under pressure from advancing Russian forces in the early part of the eight-month invasion, Kyiv had been relatively calm for months as fighting raged in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“Massive shelling of Ukrainian cities is a large-scale live war crime and a no-rules war,” Mykhailo Podolyak, a Zelenskyy adviser, tweeted. He said the only possible response is for Ukraine to receive missile defense systems, expelling Russia from international forums and issuing immediate arrest warrants for Russian authorities.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday that Belarus and Russia will deploy a regional military grouping in response to what he said were escalated tensions on their borders. A report from the state-run Belta news agency did not specify where the group would be deployed.

In the lead-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Belarus hosted Russian troops for what the two countries insisted were just military drills before Russia sent its forces over the border into Ukraine.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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