A Russian missile barrage on Ukraine’s power grid pushed the war into neighboring countries on Tuesday, striking NATO member Poland and knocking out power to much of Moldova.
It was Russia’s most powerful barrage yet, and some of the missiles landed in Poland, killing two people, according to a US official. It was the first time in the war that Russian weapons were used against a NATO country.
Because of the sensitive nature of the situation, Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller did not immediately confirm the information from a senior US intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. However, Mueller stated that top leaders were convening in an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation.”
According to Polish media, two people were killed Tuesday afternoon when a projectile struck a grain drying area in Przewodów, a Polish village near the Ukrainian border.
Moldova, a neighboring country, was also affected. An official said the strikes knocked out a key power line that supplies the small nation, causing massive power outages.
According to Zelenskyy, Russia fired at least 85 missiles, the majority of which were aimed at the country’s power facilities, and blacked out many cities.
“We’re working hard to get everything back up and running. Everything will be fine, “The president promised. The attack, according to his energy minister, was the “the most massive” bombardment of power facilities in the nearly 9-month-old Russian invasion, affecting both power generation and transmission systems.
Herman Haluschenko, the minister, described the missile strikes as “another attempt at terrorist revenge” after the Kremlin suffered military and diplomatic setbacks. Russia, he claimed, was “trying to cause maximum damage to our energy system on the eve of winter.”
The aerial assault, which killed at least one person in a residential building in the capital, Kyiv, came after days of euphoria in Ukraine over one of its biggest military victories, the retaking of the southern city of Kherson last week.
Previous attacks had already wreaked havoc on the power grid, destroying an estimated 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not commented on his troops’ withdrawal from Kherson in the face of a Ukrainian offensive. However, the unprecedented scale of Tuesday’s strikes spoke volumes and hinted at Kremlin rage.
The Russian military forced rescue workers to work in the dark and gave repair crews little time to assess the damage by daylight by striking targets in the late afternoon, not long before dusk began to fall.
More than a dozen regions, including Lviv in the west, Kharkiv in the northeast, and others in between, reported missile strikes or attempts by air defenses to shoot them down. At least a dozen regions reported power outages, affecting cities with populations in the millions. According to authorities, nearly half of the Kyiv region lost power. Ukrainian Railways reported widespread train delays.
More strikes were possible, according to Zelenskyy, who urged people to stay safe and seek shelter.
“The majority of the hits were recorded in the country’s center and north. The situation in the capital is extremely difficult “Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official, stated.
He claimed that 15 energy targets were damaged and that 70 missiles were shot down. According to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia used X-101 and X-555 cruise missiles.
Tymoshenko urged Ukrainians to “hang in there.” as city after city reported attacks.
With its battlefield losses mounting, Russia has resorted to targeting Ukraine’s power grid, ostensibly hoping to turn the approaching winter into a weapon by trapping people in the cold and darkness.
In Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said authorities discovered a body in one of three residential buildings struck in the capital, where power provider DTEK also declared an emergency blackout.
A presidential aide released video of a five-story, apparently residential building in Kyiv on fire, with flames licking through apartments. According to Klitschko, air defense units also shot down some missiles.
After meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra went to a bomb shelter in Kyiv and described the bombardment as “an enormous motivation to keep standing shoulder-to-shoulder” with Ukraine.
“There can only be one possible response: keep going. Continue to support Ukraine, deliver weapons, work on accountability, and provide humanitarian aid “He stated.
Ukraine had experienced a period of relative calm following previous waves of drone and missile attacks a few weeks ago.
The strikes came as authorities were already working feverishly to re-establish Kherson and begin investigating alleged Russian abuses there and in the surrounding area.
The southern city is without power and water, and Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN human rights office’s monitoring mission in Ukraine, declared a “dire humanitarian situation” there on Tuesday.
Bogner, speaking from Kyiv, said her teams plan to travel to Kherson to investigate nearly 80 allegations of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention.
Igor Klymenko, the head of Ukraine’s National Police, stated that authorities will begin investigating reports from Kherson residents that Russian forces set up at least three alleged torture sites in now-liberated parts of the larger Kherson region and that “our people may have been detained and tortured there.”
The recapture of Kherson dealt the Kremlin another stinging blow. Zelenskyy compared the recapture to the Allied landings in France on D-Day during World War II, claiming that both were watershed moments on the path to victory.
However, Russia retains control of large areas of eastern and southern Ukraine, and fighting continues.
Zelenskyy forewarned of more bad news to come.
“When we liberate our land, we see one thing everywhere: Russia leaves behind torture chambers and mass graves. How many mass graves are there in the territory that is still under Russian control?” Zelenskyy inquired.
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