Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian missile attacks hit vital infrastructure in Kyiv and the eastern city of Kharkiv on Saturday morning, and the governor of another region warned that a massive missile attack could follow in the coming hours.
Reuters journalists heard about a series of explosions in Kyiv before the siren went off, which was very unusual. Officials said no one was reported injured, but missile debris caused a fire at a location and damaged homes outside the capital.
“Explosions in the (eastern) Dnipro region. All agencies are heading to the site. Stay in your shelters!” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia, which invaded last February, has been bombing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing blackouts and disrupting central heating and running water as winter approaches.
“An infrastructure facility was hit. No serious damage or fire occurred. All emergency services are working at the site. No one was hurt,” the Kyiv military department said in a statement.
Ukrenergo, which operates the power grid, said its workers were racing to repair the damage and that the grid was grappling with power shortfalls caused by previous attacks even though it was -2C (28F) in Kyiv, and it was mildly cold.
The mayor of Kyiv said debris from a missile fell on a non-residential area in the Holoseevsky district west of Kyiv, causing a fire but no one was injured.
The residential infrastructure in the village of Kobelev in the district outside the capital was also damaged. The district’s governor, Oleksiy Kuleba, said the windows and roofs of 18 privately owned homes were blown out or damaged by the blast.
Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat said the Russian missiles were likely launched along a high, zigzag ballistic trajectory from the north, which explains why the sirens were not heard.
He told the Ukrainska Pravda website that Ukraine is unable to identify and shoot down ballistic missiles.
Missiles hit Kharkiv
In northeastern Ukraine, Oleg Sinyhopov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said two S-300 missiles hit the city near the Russian border early on Saturday.
He added that the attacks hit critical energy infrastructure and industrial facilities in Kharkiv and Chuhiv region.
“Our emergency services units and power workers are working to remove the consequences and stabilize the situation with power supplies,” he said.
The governor of the central Cherkassy region warned of a possible massive Russian missile strike later on Saturday, while the governor of Mykolaiv in the south said 17 Russian Tupolev warplanes had taken off from their air bases.
But after their statements, the air raid alert in Kyiv and the surrounding area was lifted.
The strikes on Saturday came as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Soledar, a small salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine that has for days been the focus of a relentless Russian offensive.
Russia said on Friday its forces had captured Solidar, in what would be a rare success for Moscow after months of battlefield setbacks, but Kyiv said its forces were still fighting in the town.
Reuters could not immediately verify the situation in Solidar.
Written by Tom Palmforth, Editing by Angus MacSwan, Mark Heinrichs, and Frances Kerry
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