Heavy Russian barrage on Ukraine, no water for much of Kyiv

Kyiv, Ukraine — A massive barrage of Russian cruise missile and drone strikes hit critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities early Monday, cutting off water and electricity in retaliation for what Moscow called an attack Ukraine against its Black Sea Fleet.

Russia has stepped up its attacks on Ukraineand other key infrastructure as the war enters its ninth month, forcing continued power cuts.

“The Kremlin takes revenge for military failures on peaceful people who find themselves without electricity and heating before winter,” Kyiv region governor Oleksii Kuleba said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Monday’s bombardment was in response to what he said was a failed Ukrainian air and submarine attack on Saturday against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Sevastopol in the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia.

“Partly, yes. But that’s not all we could have done,” Putin replied, regarding the retaliation, at a press conference in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

He claimed that Ukrainian drones traveled to their targets through an internationally agreed zone intended to ensure the safety of vessels exporting grain from Ukrainian ports. The threat of such a trajectory endangered Russian vessels patrolling the area as well as the grain ships themselves, Putin said, justifying his country’s suspension of its participation in the agreement which allowed exports.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces conducted “strikes with long-range, high-precision air and sea weapons against Ukraine’s military command and energy systems.”

“The objectives of the strikes have been achieved. All designated targets have been hit,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, 12 grain-carrying ships left Ukrainian ports on Monday despite Russia’s threat to reimpose a blockade that threatened world hunger, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said. But the grain transport was thrown into doubt after the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday evening that “traffic along the security corridor defined by the Black Sea Initiative has been suspended” due to allegations that Ukraine used the area to strike at Russian forces.

In Monday’s ground attacks, Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 44 of more than 50 Russian-launched cruise missiles.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russian missiles and drones hit 10 Ukrainian regions and damaged 18 sites, mostly energy facilities. Hundreds of localities were left without electricity, he said on Facebook. Thirteen people were injured, Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klymenko said.

Loud explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital as residents prepared for work. Emergency services sent text messages warning of the threat of a missile attack, and air raid sirens blared for three hours.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 80% of consumers in the city of 3 million were left without water due to damage to a power plant. By Monday evening, workers had reduced the percentage to 40% and the number of apartments without electricity from 350,000 to 270,000. To reduce energy consumption, authorities in Kyiv extended the intervals between metro trains and replaced trolleybuses and electric trams by buses, Klitschko said. Subway service resumed Monday evening.

Across Kyiv, hundreds of people lined up, often for more than an hour, to pump water by hand from wells to fill plastic bottles and cans.

“It’s really embarrassing,” said a 34-year-old resident, who only agreed to give his first name, Denis, as he went to fetch water. “But the truth is that it’s not a problem. The problem is that we have a war.

Smoke rose from the left bank of the Dnieper in Kyiv, either from a missile strike or when Ukrainian forces shot it down.

Associated Press reporters saw soldiers inspecting a crater and debris from where a missile landed on the outskirts of Kyiv. The missiles flew fast and low and sounded like bomb explosions, witnesses said.

“It was scary,” said Oleksandr Ryabtsev, 28, who was on his way to work. “I looked up and it was flying over there. You could see that cruise missile. I didn’t even go to work. I went home.”

Prime Minister Shmyhal said that in Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions, emergency power cuts were underway.

In the eastern city of Kharkiv, two strikes hit critical infrastructure, authorities said, and the metro stopped working.

Critical infrastructure sites were also hit in the Cherkasy region, southeast of Kyiv. In the Kirovohrad region of central Ukraine, an energy facility was hit. In Vinnytsia, remnants of a missile that was shot down landed on civilian buildings, causing damage but no casualties, according to regional governor Serhii Borzov.

Electricity has been cut in parts of the Ukrainian railway network, Ukrainian Railways reported.

Ukraine has denied responsibility for Saturday’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet, saying Russia mismanaged its own weapons, but Moscow still announced it was retaliating by ending its involvement in the attack. the grain agreement negotiated by the UN and Turkey.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar urged his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, in a phone call on Monday to “reconsider” Moscow’s suspension of its participation in the grain deal, which allowed the export of more than 9 million tons of grain from Ukraine. According to a statement, Akar hailed the agreement as an example of how issues can be resolved through “cooperation and dialogue” and said it was an “entirely humanitarian activity” that should be separated from the conflict.

At the United Nations in New York, Martin Griffiths, who leads the UN team facilitating the deal, told the Security Council that Monday’s vessel movements and inspections were undertaken as emergency measures .

UN trade chief Rebeca Grynspan warned the Council that uncertainty surrounding the deal and high global fertilizer prices could turn the current food affordability crisis into “tomorrow’s availability crisis”. and a crisis of enormous proportions”. She said the deals allowed Russia’s wheat exports to triple between July and September and Ukraine’s wheat exports to more than quadruple, driving down food prices.

Monday’s strikes were the third time this month that Russia has launched massive attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure. On October 10, a similar attack rocked the war-torn country following an explosion at the Kerch Bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia – an incident Moscow blamed on Kyiv.

One of the Russian missiles shot down by Ukraine landed on a Moldovan border town, causing damage but no casualties. The Moldovan Interior Ministry released photos showing a thick plume of smoke rising above the northern town of Naslavcea, on the border with Ukraine, as well as shattered windows.

Another Russian attack hit two tugboats carrying grain barges in the Black Sea port of Ochakiv at the mouth of the Dnieper River in the Mykolaiv region of southern Ukraine, killing at least two service members. crew, Ukrainian news agency Unian reported, citing a Ukrainian military official.

In another development, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it had completed a partial troop mobilization, ostensibly fulfilling a pledge to end the call for 300,000 troops. Some human rights lawyers, however, have warned that only Putin can end the appeal by signing an executive order. The Russian president told reporters he would consult with lawyers to find out whether such a decree was necessary, adding that 41,000 of the reservists have been deployed in combat in Ukraine, including 259,000 in training.


Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; Karel Janicek in Prague; and Sabina Niksic in Sarajevo, Bosnia, contributed to this report.


Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


This story has been corrected to show Monday’s strikes were the third major Russian barrage against Ukrainian infrastructure this month, not the second.

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