By ADAM SCHRECK and HANNA ARHIROVA
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for what it claimed was a Ukrainian terrorist assault on a essential bridge by unleashing its greatest and most widespread assaults in opposition to Ukraine in months. The deadly barrage in opposition to a number of cities smashed civilian targets, knocking out energy and water, shattering buildings and killing no less than 11 individuals.
Ukraine’s Emergency Service mentioned 64 individuals had been wounded within the morning rush hour assaults that Russia launched from the air, sea and land in opposition to no less than 14 areas, spanning from Lviv within the west to Kharkiv within the east. Many of the assaults occurred removed from the warfare’s entrance strains.
Though Russia mentioned missiles focused navy and vitality amenities, some struck civilian areas whereas individuals had been heading to work and faculty. One hit a playground in downtown Kyiv and one other struck a college.
Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, mentioned the strikes had no “practical military sense” and that Russia’s aim was to trigger a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned his forces used “precision weapons” to focus on key vitality infrastructure and navy command amenities in retaliation for Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions — a reference to Ukraine’s makes an attempt to repel Moscow’s invasion forces, together with an assault Saturday on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula that Putin known as a “terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian particular providers.
Putin vowed a “tough” and “proportionate” response ought to Ukraine perform additional assaults that threaten Russia’s safety. “No one should have any doubts about it,” he advised Russia’s Security Council by video.
The Russian president has been beneath intense home strain to take extra aggressive motion to cease a largely profitable Ukrainian counteroffensive and to react forcefully to Saturday’s assault on the Kerch bridge, whose development he used to cement his 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Putin’s more and more frequent descriptions of Ukraine’s actions as terrorist might set the stage for much more daring and draconian actions. But in Monday’s speech, Putin — whose partial troop mobilization order final month triggered an exodus of tons of of 1000’s of males of preventing age from Russia — stopped wanting an anticipated escalation from what he calls a “special military operation” to a counterterrorism marketing campaign or martial legislation.
Moscow’s warfare in Ukraine is approaching its eight-month milestone, and the Kremlin has been reeling from humiliating battlefield setbacks in areas of japanese Ukraine it’s making an attempt to annex.
The head of Ukraine’s legislation enforcement mentioned Monday’s assaults nationwide broken 70 infrastructure websites, of which 29 are essential. The Ukrainian General Staff mentioned 84 cruise missiles and 24 drones had been used. Ukrainian forces shot down 56 aerial targets, it mentioned.
Blasts struck within the capital’s Shevchenko district, a big space within the heart that features the historic outdated city and authorities places of work, Mayor Vitali Klitschko mentioned.
Some of the strikes hit close to the federal government quarter within the capital’s symbolic coronary heart, the place parliament and different main landmarks are positioned. A glass-covered workplace tower was considerably broken, with most of its blue-tinted home windows blown out.
Zelenskyy, in a video deal with, referred to the frenzy hour timing of Monday’s assaults, saying Russia “chose such a time and such targets on purpose to inflict the most damage.”
The strikes despatched residents of Ukraine’s two largest cities — Kyiv and Kharkiv — into bomb shelters, together with subway stations.
While air raid sirens have continued all through the warfare in cities throughout the nation, in Kyiv and elsewhere, many Ukrainians had begun to disregard their warnings after months of calm.
Just as site visitors was starting to choose up Monday morning, a commuter minibus, often known as a “marshrutka” — a well-liked different to town’s buses and subways — was struck close to Kyiv National University. Nearby, no less than one strike landed in Shevchenko Park, leaving a big gap close to a youngsters’s playground.
Another goal was the Klitschko pedestrian bridge — a landmark in central Kyiv with its glass panels. Closed-circuit tv footage confirmed an enormous explosion beneath the bridge, with smoke rising, and a person working away after the blast, apparently unharmed. No important harm to the bridge was instantly obvious.
Air raid sirens sounded in each area of Ukraine besides Russia-annexed Crimea, for 4 straight hours.
Associated Press journalists noticed a number of our bodies at an industrial web site on the outskirts of Dnipro metropolis. Four individuals had been killed and 19 injured within the metropolis, officers mentioned.
Witnesses mentioned one missile landed in entrance of a bus through the morning rush hour, damaging the car however not killing any passengers.
Natalia Nesterenko, a mathematician, noticed one missile fly by her Dnipro condo balcony as she was working in her kitchen, then she heard two explosions.
“It’s very dangerous. I immediately called my kids to see how they are because anyone can be hit — women, children,” she mentioned.
Kharkiv was hit 3 times, Mayor Ihor Terekhov mentioned. The strikes knocked out the electrical energy and water provide. Energy infrastructure was additionally hit in Lviv, regional Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi mentioned.
Three cruise missiles launched in opposition to Ukraine from Russian ships within the Black Sea crossed Moldova’s airspace, mentioned the nation’s international affairs minister, Nicu Popescu.
The assaults introduced out a recent bout of worldwide condemnation of Russia.
The Group of Seven industrial powers scheduled a videoconference Tuesday on the scenario, which Zelenskyy will deal with.
French President Emanuel Macron expressed “extreme concern.” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that “Russia’s firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable.”
“Russia once again has shown to the world what it stands for. It is terror and brutality,” mentioned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Some feared Monday’s assaults could be the primary salvo in a renewed Russian offensive. As a precautionary measure, Ukraine switched all colleges to on-line studying till no less than the tip of this week. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba broke off an Africa tour and headed again to Ukraine.
In an ominous transfer, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko introduced Monday that he and Putin have agreed to create a joint “regional grouping of troops.” He provided no particulars. His protection minister, Viktor Khrenin, later issued a video warning Ukraine to not provoke Belarus, however added, “We don’t want to fight.”
Lukashenko repeated his claims that Ukraine is plotting an assault on Belarus, sparking fears the stage is being set for preemptive motion by Minsk.
Sabra Ayres in Kyiv, Vasilisa Stepanenko in Kharkiv, and Justin Spike and Yesica Fisch in Dnipro, contributed to this story.
Follow the AP’s protection of the warfare at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine