Massive Russian Missile Barrage Plunges Much Of Ukraine Into Darkness (Updated)
Scores of Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s power grid today, leaving many without electricity with temperatures set to drop below freezing.
Russia unleashed a massive new wave of missile strikes on targets across Ukraine on Tuesday, with a particular focus on the country's power grid. Other civilian targets also appear to have been struck, including at least two residential buildings in the captial Kyiv, where at least one resident was killed, according to officials there.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat said that about 100 Russian missiles have been launched at Ukraine today, exceeding the record-setting 84 missile barrage on October 10. In addition to the strikes in Ukraine's capital, targets in the Lviv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, and Zhytomyr regions, among other places, were hit. There are now reports of widespread power outages and increasing concerns that Russia intends to try and wipe out Ukraine's ability to generate power ahead of winter. As an example, temperatures in the capital are expected to drop below freezing tomorrow, with temperatures expected to fall as low as 17 degrees by Sunday.
"This is a massive missile strike," said Ignat, adding that there were fears Russia might now also launch drone attacks, as well. "Critical infrastructure facilities are the first target. But, unfortunately, rockets also hit residential buildings."
Power supplies have already been severely affected by this latest wave of missile strikes.
“Due to a massive missile attack, on the order of the National Electric Power Company Ukrenergo, the energy industry started emergency power outages throughout Ukraine,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on his Telegram channel. “In particular, in the capital. This is a necessary step to balance the power system and avoid equipment accidents. Schedules of stabilization shutdowns are currently not in effect! In the capital, at least half of the customers are without electricity.”
“The situation is critical,” Deputy Head of the Office of The President Kyrylo Tymoshenko wrote on his Telegram page. “Most hits were recorded in the center and north of the country. The situation in the capital is extremely difficult, special schedules of emergency shutdowns are introduced. Ukrenergo is forced to start emergency blackouts to balance the power system and avoid equipment accidents. Stabilization shutdown schedules are currently not in effect. Use electricity sparingly and keep it up! The terrorists will still be defeated.”
"Vitaly Kimm, the mayor of Mykolayiv in the south, said Russian missiles had been launched in three waves," according to the BBC.
"In Chernihiv, in the north, Governor Vyacheslav Chaus warned people to take shelter, adding 'the missile strike is continuing' Meanwhile, in the western city of Lviv, Mayor Andriy Sadovy said there had also been attacks, with power cuts as a result."
This is the latest in a series of Russian attacks aimed at crippling Ukraine's ability to generate power as winter approaches. You can read more about that here.
In Kyiv, “two residential buildings were hit in the Pechersk district,” according to Klitschko. “Several missiles were shot down by air defense over Kyiv. Medics and rescuers at the scene of the hits. More details later.”
“The danger has not passed,” Tymoshenko wrote. “Stay in shelter.”
"In Pechersk, in one of the houses hit by a rocket, rescuers found the body of one dead person," Klitschko said. "Rescue and search operations are ongoing."
The U.S. condemned the attacks, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan saying they "will serve to only deepen the concerns among G-20 about the destabilizing impact of Putin's war."
Concerns about these kinds of attacks had already spurred Ukrainian officials to seek out additional air defenses on top of those they had before the war and the ones supplied by the U.S. and allies. There is also now a concerted, longer-erm U.S.-led effort underway to improve Ukraine's air and missile defenses, which you can read more about that here.
On Telegram, Tymoshenko said that Ukrainian air defenses had been able to shoot down about 70 of the more than 90 miles Russia fired, but 15 unspecified "energy infrastructure facilities" were still damaged. The War Zone could not immediately independently confirm these figures.
The strikes come a day after Ignat said that there had been a week-long pause in Russian missile and drone strikes as Moscow conserved its dwindling stock of such weapons.
“Obviously, the enemy cannot afford to launch massive missile strikes all the time, because it experiences a shortage of these weapons," he said Monday. "This also applies to Iskanders and [Kh]-555, [Kh]-101 missiles, as well as Kalibr” cruise missiles."
As for "the quietness in terms of rocket strikes and missile strikes, I think that the enemy is accumulating its forces because as I previously mentioned, they cannot afford to constantly strike on us,” said Ignat. Other Ukrainian officials have made similar assessments recent, as you can read more about here.
Ignat, however, predicted that Russia might launch a massive attack during this week's G-20 summit in Bali.
Russia has ordered another 1,500 Iranian drones, according to Ignat, "but to order is one thing: they have to be delivered, they have to be located at the launch sites, and only then they can be used. These deliveries appear to continue depending on a number of factors.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials said that they expected a new tranche of Iranian drones, as well as Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to be delivered from Iran to Russia for its war in Ukraine. The War Zone has previously explored the potentially serious implications of such deliveries in detail.
In addition, Tuesday's wave of Russian missile attacks also comes hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G-20 summit, issuing a 10-point peace plan, which he posted on his Telegram channel:
1. Radiation and nuclear safety.
2. Food security.
3. Energy security.
4. Release of all prisoners and deported persons.
5. Implementation of the UN Charter and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the world order.
6. Withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities.
7. Restoration of justice.
8. Countering ecocide.
9. Preventing escalation.
10. Confirmation of the end of the war.
Zelensky's Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, tweeted that the missile strike, following Zelensky's G-20 speech, is an indication that Russia does not want peace.
Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, filling in for President Vladimir Putin who opted to avoid the limelight in Bali, dismissed the plan and called for the West to reel Zelensky in.
"We want to see concrete evidence that the West is seriously interested in disciplining Zelensky and explaining to him that this cannot continue, that this is not in the interests of the Ukrainian people and himself," he said, according to the Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti's Telegram channel.
This is a developing story and we will update it as more information becomes available.
Update: 3:40 PM EST
Reports have now emerged about one or more missiles hitting a farm in Poland after crossing over the Ukrainian border amid Russia's strikes today. The exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain murky, but it does underscore long-standing fears about the potential for Russia's war on Ukraine to spill over into neighboring countries. You can read more about what we know so far about this specific incident in The War Zone's reporting here.
Update: 3:51 PM EST
Tymoshenko reports that power has been restored in the Ivano-Frankivsk and Odesa regions. The "electricity situation" in the Cherkasy region has been "stabilized" with previous hourly shutdowns that existed before today's attack once again implemented and in Ternopil, electricity to the region is expected to be restored during the night.
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