LONDON — Ukraine faced a barrage of missiles on Thursday morning in one of the biggest bombardments the country has faced since Russia invaded earlier this year.
According to Oleksii Gromov, a Ukrainian general, Russia launched more than 69 missiles “aimed at critical and energy infrastructure.” Of the dozens launched, 54 were shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses, he said.
Three people in the capital, Kyiv, were hospitalized following the explosions, including a 14-year-old girl. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that 40% of the city was left without power due to the strikes. “Charge your phones and other devices,” he wrote on Telegram via translation. “Stock up on water.” He added that engineers were working on restoring power back to the capital.
In the south, missiles were shot down in the regions of Mykolaiv and Odesa. Meanwhile, several explosions were reported in the western city of Lviv. No casualties were immediately reported.
Ukraine’s foreign minister hit out at Russia for launching missiles during the holidays, describing it as “senseless barbarism.” Earlier Thursday, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that more than 120 missiles had been launched.
Neighboring Belarus’s Defense Ministry said it had downed a Ukrainian missile on Thursday morning. The S-300 Soviet-era air defense missile was shot down near the village of Harbacha, just 9 miles from the border with Ukraine. Oleg Konovalov, a military official, played down the strike, stating that it was “absolutely nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, these things happen.”
Similarly in November, an S-300 that accidentally landed in NATO member Poland, leaving two people dead, was likely fired by Ukrainian air defense. The missile sparked fear that there had been an escalation in tensions.
Russia has upped its airstrikes on Ukraine since October when the Kerch Strait Bridge, which connects the peninsula of Crimea to mainland Russia, was targeted. The bridge was partially damaged after a truck exploded. Russia blamed Ukrainian intelligence for the attacks and has made several arrests since the explosion.