Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Russia used missiles and Iran-made drones to target civilians and Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in a series of deadly strikes.
A barrage of lethal blasts rocked several Ukrainian cities Monday morning, including central Kyiv where at least eight were killed, shattering months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital.
The strikes came a day after Russia’s leader blamed Ukraine for an explosion on a key Crimea bridge.
“This morning is difficult. We are dealing with terrorists. Dozens of missiles and Iranian Shaheds. They have two targets. Energy facilities throughout the country,” Zelensky said in a video address on social media.
“The second target is people,” he said.
“They want panic and chaos, they want to destroy our energy system,” he said.
Zelensky said that as well as Kyiv, attacks also took place in Lviv to the west; Dnipro, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk in central Ukraine; Zaporizhzhia in the south; and Kharkiv and Sumy regions in the east, among others.
“There may be temporary power outages now, but there will never be an interruption in our confidence — our confidence in victory,” Zelensky added.
Earlier, Zelensky said in a statement that Russia was trying to wipe Ukraine off the face of the Earth.
“Air raid sirens are not subsiding around Ukraine… Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded. Please do not leave the shelters,” Zelensky said in an earlier statement, accusing Russia of wanting to “wipe us from the face of the Earth.”
The military said the Iranian drones were launched from Belarus.
“The enemy used Iranian Shahed-136 UAVs in strikes launched from the territory of Belarus” and the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia, the Ukraine military said in a statement on Facebook, adding that nine drones were “destroyed.”
The head of the Ukrainian military said Russian forces launched at least 75 missiles at Ukraine.
“The terrorist country, Russia, has carried out massive missile and air strikes on the territory of Ukraine, also using attack drones. In the morning, the aggressor launched 75 missiles. 41 of them were shot down by our air defense,” General Valeriy Zaluzhny said on social media.
The claim could not be independently verified.
There were at least three blasts initially heard in Kyiv at around 8:15 a.m. local time, peak rush hour. An hour later, further explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital.
Prior to Monday’s attack, Russia’s last strike on Kyiv took place on June 26.
At least eight people were killed and 24 were injured in just one of the Kyiv strikes, according to preliminary information, said Rostyslav Smirnov, an adviser to the Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs.
Kyiv mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said there were “several hits on objects of the city’s critical infrastructure.”
A reporter for the BBC was live on air at the time of the first wave of strikes.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 10, 2022
Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, posted a photo on Twitter showing that at least one explosion occurred near the main building of the Kyiv National University in central Kyiv.
Video posted to social media appeared to show a park and a pedestrian bridge severely damaged in explosions.
Shevchenko Park in central Kyiv now. Probably the city’s busiest park, usually packed with people and street musicians pic.twitter.com/9kIS4rBiKq
— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) October 10, 2022
The Kyiv strikes marked the start of an intensive wave of attacks on targets across Ukraine.
Ukraine’s presidency said there were hits on “many” cities in Ukraine.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said that parts of the city were without electricity and hot water following a Russian strike, The Guardian reported.
A telecommunications building was hit in the central city of Dnipro, one of several strikes that caused at least three deaths.
The eastern city of Kharkiv was struck multiple times Monday morning, knocking out power in parts of the city.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said that the energy infrastructure building was hit and there was no electricity and water in some of the districts of the city.
Bystanders said that two rockets hit the building in the western end of the city. A heavily damaged bus could be seen on the street in front of the building, which was strewn with rubble and broken glass.
The attacks came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack that damaged the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea “a terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian special services.
The Kerch Bridge, which holds important strategic and symbolic value to Russia in its faltering war in Ukraine, was hit Saturday by what Moscow has said was a truck bomb. Road and rail traffic on the bridge were temporarily halted, damaging a vital supply route for the Kremlin’s forces.
The chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, claimed Ukrainian special services and citizens of Russia and other countries took part in the attack. He said a criminal investigation had been launched into an act of terror.
“We have already established the route of the truck,” he said, saying it had been to Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia and Krasnodar, a region in southern Russia.
In Kyiv, presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak called Putin’s accusation “too cynical even for Russia.”