Kiev: Multiple missile strikes targeted Ukrainian cities all across the country on Monday, according to local officials and media, which attributed the attacks to Russia.
This comes two days after a bomb damaged the strategic Crimean bridge, which Moscow called a Ukrainian terrorist attack, reports RT news.
President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted the attacks on the capital, Kiev and the cities of Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia, before urging people to take shelter. Local officials in Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa also reported that their cities came under fire.
In Kiev, damage from the strikes was reported near the headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which is located in the government area of the capital.
City officials halted operations of the metro system, and the stations are now being used as shelters for civilians, RT reported.
The head of Lviv Region, Maksim Kozitsky, reported that elements of the western province’s energy infrastructure came under attack.
Vitaly Kim, who heads the southern Nikolaev region which borders Kherson, reported dozens of projectiles and a number of kamikaze drones coming from Russian troops.
He claimed that Moscow was targeting “critical infrastructure” throughout the country.
With similar accounts coming in from many parts of the country, senior Ukrainian officials have expressed determination to fight Russia.
“Our courage will never be destroyed by terrorists’ missiles, even when they hit the heart of our capital,” Defence Minister Aleksey Reznikov tweeted, also claiming that Russia’s future is that of “a globally despised rogue terrorist state”.
Putin denounces Crimean bridge explosion as terrorist act
The explosion on the Crimean bridge was no doubt a terrorist act aimed at destroying Russia’s critical civilian infrastructure, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
“Ukraine’s special services were the initiators, performers and masterminds,” Putin said when meeting with Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, Xinhua news agency reported.
Confirming Putin’s statement, Bastrykin said that citizens of Russia and foreign countries were also involved in the incident.
“We have already established the route of the truck which exploded. It drove through Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, and the Krasnodar Territory,” Bastrykin said.
“We have also identified the carriers … With the help of FSB (Federal Security Service) agents, we were able to identify suspects from among those who could have arranged the terrorist act and those who are active within the Russian Federation,” he added.
On Saturday, a deadly blast hit the 19-km Crimean Bridge, which consists of two parallel routes for automobiles and trains over the Kerch Strait.
A truck exploded on the road bridge, causing seven fuel tanks of a train heading to the Crimean Peninsula to catch fire. Three people were killed in the blast, which also led to the partial collapse of two spans of the road bridge.
The incident on the Crimean Bridge was a special operation carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), the Interfax-Ukraine news agency cited its source in Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies as saying. The SSU hasn’t commented on the incident yet.
Ukraine intelligence agency orchestrated Crimean Bridge blast
The blast that damaged Russia’s strategic Crimean Bridge and killed at least three people was orchestrated by Ukraine, the New York Times and Washington Post both reported, citing sources, the media reported.
A senior Ukrainian official interviewed by the New York Times claimed that Kiev was behind the explosion, adding that the attack was masterminded by Ukraine’s intelligence services, which had arranged a bomb to be planted on a truck that was driving across the bridge, RT said in a report.
This claim was echoed by the Washington Post, which, citing a Ukrainian government official, also attributed the explosion to the country’s special services.
This version was backed by the news site Ukrainska Pravda, which, quoting a source in the country’s security services, said that the intelligence agency, called the SBU, was behind the attack, RT reported.
While Ukrainian officials did not explicitly take responsibility for the attack, they cheered it.
An aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, said that the explosion was “just the beginning”, adding that “everything illegal must be destroyed”.
Since Russia launched its military campaign in late February, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly promised to attack the bridge, which serves as a strategic link between Russia’s Crimean peninsula and its Krasnodar Region.
While the Kremlin did not directly accuse Kiev of staging the explosion, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Ukraine’s reaction to the incident is a testament to the “terrorist nature” of its leadership.
Meanwhile, Crimean officials directly pointed the finger at Kiev. Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the republic’s State Council, claimed that “Ukrainian vandals have finally managed to get their bloodstained hands on the Crimean Bridge”.
The powerful blast rocked the bridge early Saturday morning, causing a partial collapse of the road on the vehicle section, as well as a blaze on a parallel railway span where seven fuel tanks caught fire.
According to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, the bridge was damaged by a truck that exploded while making its way across the bridge. The blast caused at least three deaths, RT reported.
Multiple explosions reported in Kiev
For the first time in months, the Ukrainian capital Kiev has been targeted by missile strikes for the, with central areas struck, the media reported on Monday.
Explosions were reported in many other places across the country in what appears to be the most widespread set of Russian attacks since the early weeks of the war, says the BBC.
At least two blasts were heard in central Kiev shortly after 8 a.m., and more have followed since.
The rare blasts in the capital follow further strikes overnight in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia and in the Dnipropetrovsk region, the BBC reported.
“A multi-storey residential building was destroyed again. There are victims,” posted Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh on the Telegram messaging app.
Emergency services attended the scene, he added.
Ukrainian officials say a number of people have been wounded in further missile attacks on Zaporizhzhia overnight.
Zaporizhzhia has been hit repeatedly in recent weeks, with dozens of people killed.
Meanwhile, it was a “night of massive attacks” in Dnipropetrovsk, according to an update from the region’s own governor Valentyn Reznichenko, who accuses Russia of shelling multiple regions.
Ukraine’s Defence Minister says Russian attacks will not deter Ukrainians from the fight
The wave of attacks comes two days after the only bridge linking Russia with occupied Crimea was damaged in a blast.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to chair a meeting of his security council on Monday to discuss the explosion on the Crimean bridge.