Russian strikes deliberately targeted civilians, says Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued a video address saying dozens of missiles and Iranian-built drones were launched against Ukraine. 

He said that Russian forces “chose such a time and such targets on purpose to inflict the most damage” emphasising that energy facilities and civilians were targeted deliberately.

Blasts struck in the capital’s Shevchenko district, a large area in the centre of the city that includes the historic old town as well as several government offices, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Some of the strikes hit near the government quarter in the symbolic heart of the capital, where parliament and other major landmarks are located. A glass tower housing offices was significantly damaged, most of its blue-tinted windows blown out. 

At least 11 people killed, 64 wounded

At least 11 people were killed and around 64 others were wounded in the morning attacks across the country, said Ukraine’s Emergency Service.

The strikes sent residents back into bomb shelters after months of easing tensions in the capital. The city’s subway system stopped to make stations a refuge against bombing.

This Monday’s intense attacks marked a sudden military escalation in Russia’s assault on Ukraine, and were the biggest and most widespread attacks on Ukraine in months. 

Putin, whose partial mobilisation order earlier this month triggered an exodus of hundreds of thousands of men of fighting age from Russia, stopped short of declaring martial law or a counterterrorism operation as many had expected.

Amid the onslaught, Zelenskyy said on his Telegram account that Russia is “trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth”.

The attacks brought a chorus of outrage in Europe. French President Emanuel Macron expressed “extreme concern, as the strikes caused civilian casualties” and renewed his pledge of more military aid for Ukraine.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted that “Russia’s firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable”, adding that it was “a demonstration of weakness by Putin, not strength”.

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