Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and several other major cities have been hit in a barrage of missile attacks that hit civilian targets and killed several people, according to Ukrainian officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country had launched long-range missiles against Ukrainian energy, military and communications infrastructure. He said the barrage of missile fire on Monday was a response to “terrorist attacks” on Russian territory and warned an even harsher “response” could come.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala stated that the attacks on Ukrainian cities are not aimed at damaging military infrastructure. “It’s about murdering the civilian population and spreading fear,” he said.
Deputy Premier Ivan Bartoš called the bombings “nothing else than a vengeful war crime” and offered his condolences to the victims.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security, Pavel Fischer, said that the extensive rocket strikes against Ukraine show these are not accidents but an intentional “war crime”.
Missiles tore into Kyiv, the most intense strikes on the city since Russia abandoned an attempt to capture it in the early weeks of the war that started in late February. Explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in Ukraine’s west; Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine; Zaporizhzhia in the south; and Kharkiv in the east.
In the capital, attacks struck in the heart of the busy city centre during the rush hour in the morning. The body of a man in jeans lay in a street at a major intersection, surrounded by flaming cars. In a park, a soldier cut through the clothes of a woman who lay in the grass to try to treat her wounds. Two other women were bleeding nearby.
A huge crater gaped next to a children’s playground in a central Kyiv park. The remains of an apparent missile were buried, smoking in the mud.
Initial reports from officials in Kyiv put the toll to at least five people killed and dozens wounded, but there were fears the numbers would rise.