At least five people died in Ukraine on Tuesday and at least 135 others were injured, the Interior Ministry said.
In Kiev, loud explosions occurred shortly after seven in the morning, and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that a woman died and 49 people were injured after a fire broke out in a high-rise building “as a result of the missile attack,” and the power went out. Water was cut off in some areas of the capital.
Klitschko said that “civilian infrastructure” in two districts of the capital had been damaged and that fires had broken out in several locations, including a warehouse in Kiev's Podil district.
Shortly after the attacks in Ukraine, sirens sounded in Belgorod, a regional capital in western Russia that has been the target of retaliatory strikes by Kiev, including a raid on Saturday that killed at least 24 people — the highest death toll in a Ukrainian attack. . On Russian territory since the invasion of Moscow in February 2022.
The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that at least one man was killed on Tuesday in the city, as a result of an “air” attack, but it was not clear what type of weapon was used.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces fired “nearly a hundred missiles of various types,” and that “at least 70 missiles were shot down by air defense forces.” Zelensky's assertion in a video post could not be independently verified. In a separate post, Zelensky said Moscow had launched “about 170” self-destructing drones since December 31.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, a 91-year-old woman died and 47 people – including five children – were injured in four strikes on the city centre, the head of the regional administration, Oleh Sinyhopov, said.
Ambulances were on the scene at one site in Kharkiv when a second missile arrived, hitting a strip of residential buildings within sight of the Kharkiv Palace – a large hotel that had been hit days earlier.
The windshield of an ambulance was shattered. In a nearby liquor store, bottles fell from the shelves and shattered on the floor. The smell of natural gas was in the air. Debris floated onto the park below, where benches were blown aside. Among the destruction was a teddy bear.
In the hallway of an apartment, a piece of shrapnel pierced the neck of Sasha Vlaslyuk, 9, who was wearing pajamas and blue shoes, and was shivering in the hallway with his mother, Marianna.
When it was safe, Mariana, 49, led her son downstairs to the paramedic. She was cradling Sasha – just as she had done when he was a baby – as his head was wrapped in white gauze that was quickly turning red.
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Nearby, a man in patterned house slippers walked dazedly, mud and glass stuck to the soles of his feet, holding his sneakers. Another woman, barefoot, was crying on the phone while calming her nervous dachshund. An elderly woman wearing an ankle-length fur coat held a handkerchief over her injured face, and blood flowed past her.
Another ambulance shouted: This is for Sasha. One of the paramedics lifted the boy into his arms. He was limping, his head tilted to the sky, and his clothes were still redder. Mariana waited, blood on her glasses, blood on her bathrobe—her son's robe.
A neighbor lifted her schnauzer into the open ambulance door for Sasha to see. A paramedic took Mariana's information. She climbed inside, the doors closed behind her, and the ambulance rushed to the nearest hospital.
Tuesday's Russian bombing was the latest in a series of strikes that began Friday, when Moscow fired more than 150 missiles and drones at Ukrainian cities, killing at least 29 people in Kiev and dozens more elsewhere and causing damage in Kharkiv. , near the Russian border. The border in the east, to Lviv near the Polish border in the west.
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Ukraine responded on Saturday with a missile attack on Belgorod in Russia, killing at least 24 people and wounding more than 100. Moscow quickly vowed to respond, and just hours later, Russian forces attacked again, firing missiles into downtown Kharkiv. Dozens were injured.
In Ukraine, Tuesday's attacks came in two waves, an initial swarm of drones shortly after midnight, then a missile strike a few hours later.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that Moscow launched 35 self-destructing drones, all of which were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. The Air Force statement posted on the social media platform Telegram could not be independently verified.
Hours later, air raid sirens sounded again and explosions could be heard in Kiev and Kharkiv, sending thousands into underground shelters as Russian bombers launched a wave of missiles into the two cities shortly after 7am.
Soon after, air raid sirens sounded in Belgorod, where the region's governor, Gladkov, said air defenses were working, but urged all residents to take cover. Gladkov said that three separate air attacks took place in the Belgorod region on Tuesday, but he did not specify the type of weapon used.
“Our air defense worked again in Belgorod and the Belgorod region – eight airborne targets approaching the city were shot down,” Gladkov wrote on Telegram about the third attack, which he said killed one man and wounded several people. Gladkov's account could not be independently verified.
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In Kiev, air defenses are becoming increasingly important to the capital's ability to function.
Zelensky said Western countries' systems, such as the US-made Patriot, “have saved at least hundreds of lives.”
He added: “Russia will be responsible for every life lost.”
Ukraine's top military commander, General Valery Zalozhny, wrote on Twitter that Russia launched 10 Kinzhal ballistic missiles, all of which were intercepted “with the help” of Patriot missile systems. His account could not be independently verified.
“This is a record,” Zalozny said. If the missiles hit their targets, the consequences will be catastrophic.”
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Russia is spending significant resources to continue its air strikes on Ukrainian cities.
“The enemy has a certain amount of resources that he can use,” Ahnat said. “Launching 10 at once is a big expenditure. These missiles are not produced quickly.”
Stern reported from Mukachevo, Ukraine. Isabel Khurchudyan in Kiev, Serhiy Morgunov in Warsaw, and Natalia Abakumova in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.