Russia struck several areas in Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, with missiles Thursday. It was the biggest Russian attack in weeks. Russian forces targeted power stations and other important infrastructure during the freezing winter weather.
Ukraine’s military chief said early reports suggest Russia fired 69 missiles at energy facilities and Ukrainian forces shot down 54 of them. Several people were wounded.
A series of Russian strikes on power and water supplies have increased the Ukrainian population's suffering. Russia has launched attacks almost weekly since October. At the same time, Russian forces struggle to hold occupied positions and to move forward.
Ukraine used its air defense systems in Kyiv Thursday to resist the strikes, said area officials. Sounds of explosions were heard in the city.
At least three people were wounded and hospitalized, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. He warned of power outages in the capital, asking people to save water and to charge electronic devices.
After more than 10 months of fighting, Russia and Ukraine are in a stalemate. The Ukrainian military has reclaimed areas of Russian-occupied territory in the country's northeast and south. It continues to resist Russia’s attempts to seize all the industrial Donbas area in the east.
Russia has targeted Ukrainian power stations and other important infrastructure. Russia is trying to force Ukraine to negotiate on Russian terms. The time between strikes has increased in recent weeks, however. Some military experts say Russia is trying to conserve its supply of missiles.
The Ukrainian military reported success in shooting down Russian missiles and explosive drones after earlier attacks. But some still reached their targets. Most cities have gone without heat, internet service and electricity for hours or days at a time.
Many explosions also took place in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, which is in eastern Ukraine. Other attacks took place in Lviv near the border with Poland, officials said. About 90 percent of Lviv was without electricity, the city’s mayor wrote on social media service Telegram.
Peace Talks Appear Unlikely
A Telegram channel connected to the presidential press service of Belarus said a Ukrainian missile landed in Belarusian territory early Thursday. It said the missile could have landed there accidentally. Nobody was wounded.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said later that the missile was shot down by Belarusian air defenses. Belarus is a close Russian ally.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that his nation wants peace talks within two months at the United Nations. He said Russia must face a war-crimes court before his country directly talks with Russia. He said other nations should feel free to talk with the Russians.
On Thursday, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman dismissed the proposal as being influenced by the United States.
Russian officials have said that any peace plan can only go forward if Ukraine recognizes Russia’s control over the areas it annexed in September. The West does not recognize Russia’s claims in Ukraine.
I’m Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
infrastructure — n. structures such as roads, bridges and power stations that are needed for a society to operate
stalemate — n. a situation in which opposing sides cannot move forward or do anything effective
conserve — v. to use things carefully to prevent loss or waste
drone –n. a flying vehicle that operates without a pilot and that can carry out military operations
drone — n. a type of small aircraft that flies without a pilot
annex — v. to add territory to a country or area by declaring control over it