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May 26, 2024

Russia Launches Massive Missile and Drone Attack on Ukraine

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Jan 3, 2024

Russia launched a massive missile and drone attack on several Ukrainian cities early Monday morning, killing at least 4 people and wounding scores more in the largest attack since Russia’s full-scale invasion began.

Overview of the Attacks

The Russian strikes targeted both civilian and energy infrastructure in Kyiv and Kharkiv.

  • At least 4 people were killed and over 100 injured from the strikes, including a 15-year old girl
  • Critical energy facilities damaged in several oblasts, causing power outages
  • Russia launched cruise missiles, drones, rocket artillery in the attacks
  • Air raid sirens sounded for 3 hours straight in Kyiv

Russian forces fired a barrage of missiles:

Missile Type Number Launched
Cruise Missiles 70
Kamikaze Drones 35
Hypersonic missiles 5

This represents Russia’s largest aerial attack since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

The strikes came in two distinct waves – an initial barrage around midnight local time followed by another attack before dawn. Eyewitnesses described hearing loud explosions across the cities as Russian missiles and Iranian-supplied drones slammed into targets.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising above Kyiv, clearly visible even in the overnight darkness. Videos circulating on social media showed fiery explosions lighting up the night skyline.

"We will never forgive" the Russian missile strikes, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address after the attacks. "We will not forget a single strike on our land."

Locations Targeted

The bulk of the Russian attacks focused on Ukraine’s two largest cities – Kyiv and Kharkiv. Other cities such as Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro were also targeted.

Kyiv

Residential buildings were set ablaze in Kyiv as missiles struck the capital.

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitshchko said critical infrastructure facilities were damaged in the attacks leading to power, heat and water outages. Temperatures plunged to near freezing overnight, exacerbating the effects.

Firefighters worked to control blazes from strikes that hit critical energy facilities on Kyiv’s left bank.

The Shevchenkivskyi district in central Kyiv also came under attack from Russian cruise missiles.

Local authorities warned residents about the possibility of additional explosions from missiles that were shot down but did not fully detonate.

"It is important that air alert sirens are sounding," said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office. "I ask all to remain in shelters."

Casualties reported from the Kyiv strikes:

  • 1 dead
  • Over 50 injured

Kharkiv

Multiple strikes were reported across Kharkiv, targeting both industrial and residential areas.

Russian missiles slammed into a residential building as families were celebrating New Year’s festivities shortly after midnight.

"Instead of celebrating New Year, Kharkiv civilians were hiding in shelters. And some - were dying," said Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov.

3 people killed in Kharkiv strikes, including a 15-year old girl. Over 60 casualties reported.

Targets hit in Kharkiv region:

  • 9-story residential building
  • Critical energy infrastructure
  • Industrial site

Russia Vows to Intensify Attacks

In his New Year’s address earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure would intensify after Ukrainian forces launched a strike against Russian positions across the border.

"It's unpleasant, but we won't do anything horrible in response. We will slowly, carefully respond responsibly," Putin remarked.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said Moscow would escalate until Ukraine ceased all attacks against Russian control positions, troops, and infrastructure.

"The Russian armed forces will drastically scale up the scope and intensity of retaliatory fire operations against decision-making centers in Kyiv until the Ukrainian regime stops terrorist attacks on Russian territory," the ministry said. 

World Leaders Condemn Strikes

Leaders across Europe and the globe condemned Russia’s latest missile barrage as an act of terror meant to demoralize and freeze Ukrainians this winter.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov to condemn “Russia’s brutal missile strikes” and pledged America’s “enduring support” for Kyiv.

"Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are war crimes. Russia will be held accountable," remarked Josep Borrell, High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

French President Emmanuel Macron affirmed his support for Ukraine, stating Russia “has chosen means that deliberately target civilian populations”.

Background

Tensions have been building over the past week along the Russia-Ukraine border near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian forces launched rocket attacks against a facility in the Russian city of Belgorod approximately 15 miles from the frontier.

Video on social media showed ammunition at the targeted facility erupting with streaks of fire and smoke swirling high into the air.

"I was woken up by my bed shaking. The blasts were so strong that I jumped up," said Belgorod resident Maksim.

Local Russian officials said the strike damaged an ammunition storage warehouse, electrical substation and killed two Russian soldiers.

Moscow blamed Kyiv for the attack – an accusation Ukraine did not directly confirm or deny.

Outlook

With Russia intensifying its bombardment of Ukrainian critical infrastructure, the situation is likely to worsen this winter.

Temperatures across most of Ukraine are forecast to remain below freezing for the foreseeable future. Coupled with damage to electrical and heating infrastructure, Ukrainians face an increased threat from the cold.

Russia seems intent on breaking Ukrainian morale by leaving them without basic utilities needed to survive the winter months.

"Putin cannot capture Ukraine militarily, so he tries to freeze Ukrainians into submission," tweeted former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt.

How Ukraine manages to restore heating and electricity while countering Russian aerial assaults will likely determine the course of the war in the coming months.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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