Russia fired a barrage of missiles at Kiev on Monday, causing panic among residents trying to take cover in the face of the rare attack launched in broad daylight and after another night of strikes on Ukraine. In a rare move, Ukrainian authorities have publicly admitted that a military site in the west of the country was hit by the night's strikes.
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New strikes in the middle of the day
After night shelling that did not cause major damage in the capital, anti-aircraft sirens sounded again in the morning, followed by a series of explosions around 11:10 local time.
The enemy carried out missile strikes against Ukrainian territory for the second time in 24 hours," said the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zaluzhny, assuring that all the projectiles of this attack of the morning had been shot. "A total of 11 Iskander-M and Iskander-K missiles were launched from the north" on Kiev and its region, he said.
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal denounced this "sixteenth" attack on Kiev since the beginning of the month. "Russia is deliberately terrorizing the civilian population," he said. "Explosions in the city, in central neighborhoods," Mayor Vitaly Klitschko wrote on Telegram. "Air defense is in action," the Kiev military administration added.
Panic of the inhabitants
Faced with the force and intensity of the explosions during the interception of Russian missiles, many residents rushed to take refuge in underground shelters, especially in the subway. A video posted on social media showed dozens of schoolchildren running in terror on a street in a historic district of Kiev to the sound of explosions.
We are at Khreshchatyk metro station because there is an air alert," Maksym, a 27-year-old resident, told AFP. "I saw 6, 7 or 8 – a number of explosions in the sky. That's why I came here with my colleagues."
Russia has stepped up its air attacks on the Ukrainian capital since the beginning of the month, but so far almost all of them have taken place overnight.
According to the mayor, one man was injured and hospitalized as a result of the attack. Debris from downed missiles fell on at least three neighborhoods in the north and east of the capital, causing a fire, according to the military administration.
At first, they began to intercept missiles as usual. Then one of them fell on the road. Some people said he set fire to a car," witness Dmytro told AFP. "It was quite noisy, there were several explosions. The interception of the missile was about 6-5 explosions," he added.
Ukrainian military site hit
Earlier in the day, the Khmelnytsky regional administration in western Ukraine said a military site had been hit by a Russian attack overnight, suggesting it was an army depot and airfield.
Authorities reported "fires in fuel depots" and military equipment and a damaged airstrip. "Five flying devices have been taken out of service," the administration said, without giving further details. The Ukrainian authorities usually report almost no military losses.
Shortly after this announcement, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that it had struck during the night "airfields" in Ukraine and assured that it had "destroyed" all its targets, including "aeronautical equipment" and "facilities for the storage of weapons and ammunition".
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Up to 40 cruise missiles fired overnight
Beyond this attack in the West, the night was marked by another massive air attack on Ukraine, the day after the drone strike "the largest" on Kiev since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Up to 40 cruise missiles" were fired overnight from planes over the Caspian Sea and "about 35 drones" from the north and south, Commander Valery Zaluzhny said Monday. In Kiev, the capital alone, "more than 40 air targets" were destroyed" overnight, according to the military administration.