Russia kills at least 6 civilians in first huge missile wave for weeks

The attacks were mainly on energy facilities and hit more than half a dozen regions

Published : 9 March 2023, 05:38 AM
Updated : 9 March 2023, 08:27 AM

Russia launched a huge wave of missile strikes across Ukraine while people slept on Thursday, killing at least six civilians and forcing a nuclear power plant off the grid.

It was the first big volley of missile strikes since mid-February, ending the longest period of comparative calm since Moscow began a campaign to attack Ukraine's civil infrastructure in October.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said critical infrastructure and residential buildings in 10 regions had been hit.

Missiles rain down across the country

At least five dead in strike that hits Lviv region

Nuclear power station cut off grid

"The occupiers can only terrorise civilians. That's all they can do. But it won’t help them. They won’t avoid responsibility for everything they have done," Zelensky said in a statement.

At least five people were killed in a missile strike on a residential area in the western Lviv region, according to emergency services. Footage from the area, some 700 km (440 miles) from any military battlefield, showed a flattened house and badly damaged buildings nearby. Another civilian was reported killed in the central Dnipro region.

In the capital Kyiv, residents were awakened by explosions. A seven-hour air strike alert through the night was the longest of the five-month Russian air campaign.

Moscow says its campaign of targeting Ukraine's infrastructure far from the front is intended to reduce its ability to fight. Kyiv says the air strikes have no military purpose and aim to harm civilians, a war crime.

Ukrainian officials said Moscow had fired six of its kinzhal hypersonic missiles, an unprecedented number, which Ukraine has no way of shooting down. Russia is believed to have only a few dozen of the missiles, which President Vladimir Putin regularly touts in speeches as a weapon for which NATO has no answer.

Ukraine said the missiles had knocked out the power supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, severing it from the Ukrainian grid.

The plant, which Russia has held since capturing it early in the war, is near the front line and both sides have warned of a potential for nuclear accidents there caused by fighting. Russian installed officials called the cut-off a Ukrainian provocation, and said the plant was running safely on diesel backup power.

Kyiv, the Black Sea port of Odesa and the second-largest city Kharkiv were all hit as missiles targeted a wide arc of targets, stretching from Zhytomyr, Vynnytsia and Rivne in the west to Dnipro and Poltava in central Ukraine, officials said.

Ukrainian said it air defences had shot down drones and cruise missiles.

"Unfortunately, a missile of the Kinzhal type hit an infrastructure object," said Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv region's military administration.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in the southwestern part of the capital. He said on Telegram that 40% of consumers in Kyiv were without electricity.

The governor of Odesa region, Maksym Marchenko, said on Telegram that a mass missile attack had hit an energy facility in the city, cutting power. Residential areas had also been hit.

Kharkiv region Governor Oleh Synehubov said the city and region had been hit by 15 strikes, with targets including infrastructure. Other strikes were reported in the central city of Dnipro and regions throughout the country.