MOSCOW/KYIV: Russia rained long-range missiles on Ukraine on Monday, killing two people, destroying homes in the southeast and causing power outages, but Kyiv said its air defences had limited the damage.

Air raid sirens blared across the country and men, women and children huddled in the capital’s cavernous metro system to take cover during the latest big wave of missile strikes since its Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow has been targeting Ukraine’s power grid in intense waves of attacks since October, and state energy company Ukrenergo, which operates the national power grid, said more infrastructure had been hit on Monday Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal later said energy facilities had been hit in the regions of Kyiv, Vinnytsia in west-central Ukraine and Odesa in the south, but that Ukraine’s energy system was still functioning.

The air force said that over 60 of the more than 70 missiles fired at Ukraine had been shot down.

“Our guys are awesome,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, wrote on Telegram.

Kyiv, a city of about 3 million people, appeared to have escaped serious damage although the Kyiv region’s governor said 40pc of the region’s residents had been left without power after unspecified infrastructure was hit.

Ukraine says it downed over 60 of the 70 missiles fired at the country

After an hours-long air raid alert ended, Zelenskiy told Ukrainians that air defences had “shot down most of the missiles”. Kyiv officials said that nine out of 10 missiles fired at the capital had been shot down. Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said missiles had crashed into buildings in Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, destroying several houses and killing two people. Three people were wounded, including a small child, he said.

Water supply in Odesa region had been stopped as all pumping stations and reserve lines had lost power, the regional water company announced on Telegram.

The new attacks had been predicted for days. They finally came with the temperature in Kyiv -5 degrees Celsius (23Fahrenheit). Residents had just been told that emergency blackouts were over after earlier damage was repaired.

Military intelligence official Andriy Yusov said the attacks had mainly hit “civilian infrastructure, primarily energy infrastructure”.Disruptions to the electricity supply in neighbouring Moldova were reported by the Moldelectrica electricity company.

Moldovan police found fragments of a missile that came down in a region of northern Moldova near the border with Ukraine, state information portal Prima Sursa quoted the police as saying.Three people were killed when a fuel tanker exploded at a Russian air base on Monday, a state news agency said, and a regional governor acknowledged reports of a blast at a separate base housing bombers that are part of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

State-owned RIA news agency said six others were injured in the tanker explosion in Ryazan, 185 km southeast of Moscow.

Roman Busargin, governor of the Saratov region further to the southeast, reassured residents after what he called reports on social media of a “loud bang and a flash” at the region’s Engels air base.

“I want to assure you that no emergencies occurred in the residential areas of the city. There are no reasons for concern. No civilian infrastructure was damaged,” Busargin wrote on Telegram.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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