Russia fired missiles at targets across Ukraine in its second major airstrike in three days, sparking a massive fire in a southeastern district, where authorities said Monday that 34 people were injured and dozens of homes damaged overnight.
Ukraine said 15 of the 18 cruise missiles were successfully shot down, protecting the capital kyiv and other major cities where air raid sirens blared. The only reports of widespread damage were in Pavlograd, a railway junction behind the southern and eastern fronts.
A Russian official based in the occupied Zaporizhia region, who released images of the massive fire from Pavlogrado, said Russian forces had attacked military targets there.
The Ukrainian authorities also released images of a burned-out wasteland and claimed that an industrial company, which they did not identify, had been hit. Mikola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk region council, said the attack had damaged 19 apartment blocks, 25 houses, three schools, three kindergartens and several shops. Among the 34 injured are three children.
The attacks came just three days after Russia killed 23 civilians with a missile that struck a high-rise apartment building in the city of Uman, in its first major barrage of nationwide airstrikes in nearly two years. months.
Russia appears to have resumed its winter tactic of large airstrikes across the country, as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to recapture occupied territory in the south and east.
On Saturday, an apparent Ukrainian drone hit a fuel depot in Sevastopol, the Russian army base in Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014. Kiev said the fire was part of its preparations for its offensive.
Five months into a Russian assault that secured little new territory despite the bloodiest ground fighting of the war, kyiv is preparing to unleash its counterattack using hundreds of Western-supplied armored vehicles and tanks.
“At around 2:30 am (1130 GMT), the Russian invaders attacked Ukraine from strategic flight aircraft,” Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valeri Zaluzhnyi said.
kyiv municipal authorities said no civilian casualties or damage had been reported from overnight airstrikes in the capital.
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