Russia launches missile attacks on Ukraine after Crimea bridge explosion

Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities came under sustained missile and rocket attacks on Monday, a day after President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of terrorism over an attack on a bridge linking occupied Crimea to Russia’s Taman region.

Several missiles hit central Kyiv as loud explosions were heard around the city in the first attack on the Ukrainian capital since late June. Residents fled to bomb shelters as smoke rose over the city.

The missiles also hit Lviv, in western Ukraine; Dnipro, in the center of the country; and several cities across the country, including Zaporizhzhia and Mykolayiv in the south, which are close to the front line.

There were reports of explosions in the Black Sea port of Odessa, and air strike alerts were fired in all parts of Ukraine except occupied Crimea.

At least five people were killed in Kyiv, an adviser to the interior minister said on Telegram. Casualties are expected to rise, rescuers warned, including at a major road junction near a university and residences of Western ambassadors.

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Missiles or rockets hit the central intersection of Volodymyrska Street and Shevchenko Boulevard, at the northwestern entrance to Shevchenko Park, one of the busiest intersections in Kyiv during the morning rush hour.

Footage from Kyiv showed damage to a children’s playground in Shevchenko Park and to a pedestrian bridge dubbed the “Klitschko” bridge after the city’s mayor.

Photos and videos sent to the Financial Times by government officials showed first responders and ambulances at the scene.

Map showing Russian missile attacks on Kyiv.  Russian missile attack on the central intersection of Volodymyrska Street and Shevchenko Boulevard Reported damage to DTEK offices Damage to 'Klitschko' bridge

Images on Telegram showed damage to a skyscraper near the main train station in Kyiv, which houses the offices of DTEK, a large electricity producer owned by Rinat Akhmetov, one of Ukraine’s richest men.

It was unclear whether missile defenses were activated in Kyiv. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, wrote on Telegram that 75 Russian missiles were fired on Monday morning, 41 of which Ukrainian air defenses managed to shoot down.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a short video saying Russia had used suicide missiles and drones to target “critical infrastructure” and ordinary citizens. “They want panic and chaos, they want to destroy our energy system. They are hopeless,” Zelenskyy said, as he stood outside his office in central Kyiv.

The blasts came a day after Putin accused Ukraine of terrorism following the attack on the Kerch Bridge, a critical military supply route for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and a symbol of Russian prestige.

In a video released by the Kremlin on Sunday, Putin accused “Ukrainian secret services” of carrying out the assault on the bridge, which he described as a “terrorist attack aimed at destroying critical Russian civilian infrastructure.”

Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s former deputy chairman and deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said on Monday that Russia needed to react to the Crimean bridge attack by “directly destroying the terrorists.”

In an interview on Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, Medvedev said the “failed Ukrainian state” was behind the attack. “This is a terrorist attack and sabotage committed by the criminal regime of Kyiv,” he said. “Russia’s response to this crime must be to directly destroy the terrorists. How is it done in the world? That is what Russian citizens expect.”

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack, although officials posted several comments mocking Russia on social media and Ukraine’s post office issued a commemorative stamp.

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