On January 23rd, 2023, Russia launched a major missile attack across Ukraine, targeting residential areas in the capital Kyiv and the city of Kharkiv. At least five people have been reported killed so far and dozens more injured, with emergency services still working to rescue victims trapped under rubble.
Over 30 Missiles Fired at Major Urban Centers
According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzianyk, over 30 cruise and ballistic missiles were used in the morning attack, which occurred around 8am local time.
The missiles struck civilian structures in densely populated central districts of both Kyiv and Kharkiv. In the capital, a children’s playground, pedestrian bridge, and open air parking lot were reportedly hit. In Kharkiv, an entire section of an apartment block was destroyed.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko stated that the strikes caused “serious damage”, with explosions heard across the city. Critical infrastructure like power and water systems have been disrupted by the attack. Fires broke out at some impact sites but firefighters were working to contain the blazes.
At Least Five Civilians Killed
As of midday local time, at least five civilians had been reported killed by the missile strikes.
In Kyiv, 3 deaths were confirmed when a children’s playground was struck in the Sviatoshynskyi district. The nearby pedestrian bridge over the busy Kiev ring road was also destroyed in the blast.
Dozens more civilians were injured, including children. In Sviatoshynskyi, 11 people were hospitalized, including a 7 year old boy.
In Kharkiv, over seven people were injured when an apartment block was hit. At least two elderly residents were killed, with more feared trapped inside the remains of the destroyed building section.
Rescue workers hampered by cold winter temperatures struggled to dig through the rubble in search of additional victims and survivors.
Russia Continues Strategy of Terrorizing Civilians
The strikes on clearly civilian, non-military targets mark the latest phase in Russia’s terror campaign against Ukraine’s population.
By targeting apartment blocks, playgrounds and city centers with powerful missiles, experts say Russia aims to demoralize resistance and turn public opinion against the ongoing conflict.
“Russia lacks the capability to make meaningful military gains, so instead they resort to war crimes by massacring civilians” said Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The attacks also follow allegations from Russian officials last week that French mercenaries were actively fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, signaling a significant escalation of Russia’s confrontation with NATO members. Experts fear this could presage even more reckless attacks by Russia, including potential false flag operations.
World Leaders Condemn Latest War Crimes
Leaders around the world were quick to condemn the latest Russian attacks.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the strikes “appalling”, saying that “Russian aggression will continue to face our unflinching support for Ukrainian sovereignty.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tweeted that the US “strongly condemns Russia’s missile strikes today across Ukraine, including in Kyiv and Kharkiv. We stand in solidarity with the resilient Ukrainian people.”
In a video address, President Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to “wipe us off the face of the earth”. He reinforced calls for increased military aid and the supply of long range missiles to Ukraine.
Further Strikes Highly Likely
With Russia’s initial ground invasion strategy thwarted and their forces severely depleted, military analysts expect the campaign of terror to persist using missile and drone attacks on civilian areas.
Kyiv in particular is likely to face further strikes, as Russia attempts to paralyze government and military leadership. Critical infrastructure across Ukraine also remains vulnerable.
While air defenses provided by NATO allies have improved, they still struggle to intercept many of the missiles used in mass attacks like those seen today.
Securing Ukraine’s airspace remains a top priority for Western military aid efforts. However the supply of advanced anti-air systems has so far faced reluctance, out of concern it could provoke further escalation by Russia.
For now, Ukrainian civilians must brace themselves for more indiscriminate attacks as Russia pursues its cynical war of attrition. The rest of Europe is also facing heightened risk, with infrastructure potentially targeted in response to ongoing support for Ukraine.
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