Russian missiles strike vital infrastructure in Kyiv and Kharkiv
KYIV, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Russian missile attacks hit critical infrastructure in Kiev and the eastern city of Kharkiv on Saturday morning, and the governor of another region warned that a massive missile strike could follow in the coming hours.
Reuters reporters heard a series of explosions in Kiev before the air raid siren went off, which is highly unusual. No one was reported injured, but rocket debris caused a fire at one site and homes were damaged outside the capital, officials said.
“Explosions in (eastern) Dniprovskiy district. All agencies going to site. Stay in your shelters!” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia, which invaded last February, has been pounding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing major blackouts and cuts to central heating and running water like the bites of winter.
“An infrastructure facility was hit. There is no critical damage or fire. All emergency services are working on site. No one was injured,” Kyiv’s military administration said in a statement.
Ukrenergo, which runs the power grid, said its workers were racing to repair the damage and that the grid was facing a power deficit caused by earlier attacks even though it was -2 Celsius (28 Fahrenheit) in Kiev, just a little colder. .
The mayor of Kiev said debris from a rocket fell in a non-residential area in the Holosiivskiy district in western Kiev, causing a fire but not injuring anyone.
Residential infrastructure was also hit in the village of Kopyliv in the region just outside the capital. Windows and roofs of 18 private houses were broken or damaged in the explosion, said Oleksiy Kuleba, the regional governor.
Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said the Russian missiles were likely fired along a high ballistic trajectory from the north, which would explain why the air raid siren was not sounded.
Ukraine is unable to identify and shoot down ballistic missiles, he told the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
MISSILE HIT KHARKIV
In northeastern Ukraine, Oleg Synehubov, the regional governor of Kharkiv, said two S-300 missiles hit the city near the Russian border early Saturday.
The attacks hit critical energy infrastructure and industrial facilities in the region’s Kharkiv and Chuhuev districts, he said.
Our emergency services units and energy workers are working to liquidate the consequences and stabilize the situation with energy supply,” he said.
The governor of the central Cherkasy region warned that a massive Russian missile attack could follow later on Saturday, while the governor of Mykolaiv in the south said 17 Russian Tupolev fighter jets had taken off from their air bases.
But after their statements, the air raid alert was lifted in Kiev and the surrounding region.
The attacks on Saturday came as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for control of Soledar, a small salt mining town in eastern Ukraine that for days has been at the center of a relentless Russian offensive.
Russia said on Friday that its forces had taken control of Soledar, in what would be a rare success for Moscow after months of shifting battlefields, but Kiev said its troops were still fighting in the town.
Reuters could not immediately verify the situation in Soledar.
Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by Angus MacSwan, Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry
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