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Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukraine’s electricity and water grids

Russia fires barrage of missiles at Ukraine’s electricity and water grids

Russia launched a nationwide missile attack on Ukraine on Monday in its latest attempt to cripple civilian infrastructure, as Moscow accused Kyiv of attacking two airbases deep within its territory with drones.

Three people were killed and planes were damaged at Ryazan and Engels airbases, both more than 450 km from the Ukrainian border, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Kyiv has not commented on the strikes on airbases and Moscow has provided no evidence to support its claims, but if confirmed, they would mark the deepest attacks inside Russian territory since the start of the war in February.

The missile barrage and attacks on the air base came on the day an EU ban on maritime shipments of Russian oil came into force alongside a G7 mechanism to cap the price of Russian crude.

Monday’s barrage on Ukraine was the latest in a month-long Russian pivot to attacks on electricity and water supplies, seeking to demoralize Ukrainians and, as cold weather sets in, aimed to provoke a new wave of refugees in Europe which is eroding Western support.

Investigators work near the bodies of local residents killed by shrapnel during the Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine

Investigators work near the bodies of local residents killed by shrapnel during the Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine © Dmytro Smolienko/Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation that “air defense forces shot down most of the missiles” and repairs to damaged areas were already underway. The Ukrainian Air Force said it intercepted more than 60 missiles out of a total of 70.

The extent of the damage caused by the hours-long airstrike was not immediately clear, but the areas affected included the Black Sea port of Odessa, Zelenskyy’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih, and the front region of Zaporizhzhia, where two people were killed by a missile, officials said. .

Ukraine’s air defenses have been bolstered in recent weeks by deliveries of modern surface-to-air weapons from its American and European allies.

Ukrenergo, the national electricity grid company, described Monday’s strikes in a statement as the “eighth massive missile attack by a terrorist country”.

“Unfortunately, there are already knocks on energy infrastructure facilities and related emergency power outages. Ukrenergo dispatchers are working to keep the power system balanced,” he added .

Map showing the latest state of affairs in Ukraine, including Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia.  Two explosions were reported at Russian bases in Ryazan and Saratov

Moldovan police told a local news site that missile fragments had landed in a northern part of the country bordering Ukraine for the second time in recent weeks.

The Russian Defense Ministry says Ukrainian drones targeting airbases were shot down while flying at low altitude and it was the resulting explosions that killed three people in Ryazan and caused superficial damage to planes.

Earlier Monday, videos appeared on Russian social media showing a large-scale explosion in the Saratov region, and state media reported a fuel tank explosion at the Ryazan site.

“In an attempt to disable long-range Russian aircraft, Ukraine attempted to strike the military airfield ‘Dyagilevo’ in the Ryazan region and ‘Engels’ in the Saratov region, using jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicles Soviet-made,” the ministry said in a statement. statement.

The attack on the airbases represents a blow to the perceived invulnerability of Russian positions away from the front line.

It also confirms one of the main conclusions of a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute of London, a think tank, which concluded: “There is no sanctuary in modern warfare. The first clear lesson of the war in Ukraine is that the enemy can strike targets within the full operational depth of their adversary with long-range precision fire.

Pro-war Russian military bloggers criticized Russia’s home defenses after the attacks.

One, pro-Kremlin journalist Komsomolskaya Pravda Alexander Kots, claimed he had information that the Engels site had been hit by a Soviet-era Tupolev Strizh drone, and wondered how a if old plane had traveled this far undetected.

“He freely overcame almost 650 km on the territory of the Russian Federation. Was stealth technology mastered in the USSR long before it became a fashionable modern trend? Kots wrote on his Telegram channel.

He also reminded his more than half a million subscribers that “from Moscow from the Ukrainian border it is less than 650 km”.

Separately, Russian state media on Monday afternoon shared a video of President Vladimir Putin visiting the Crimean Bridge which suffered severe damage following a strike earlier this year. Russia has rebuilt the Kerch Crossing in a bid to portray the damage to its prized infrastructure project as minor and to reassure travelers of the safety of crossing it.

In the video, Putin can be seen driving the car, heading towards a bridge as an official briefs him on the progress of repairs.

Additional reporting by John-Paul Rathbone in London

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