Ukrainian officials reported a heavy barrage of Russian missile strikes Monday across the country. Air raid sirens blared urging civilians to seek shelter.
The new round of massive missile attacks on homes, buildings and power infrastructure, which Ukrainian authorities had been anticipating, underscore Russia’s strategy to leave Ukraine without energy, heat and water in the dead of winter.
State grid operator Ukrenergo confirmed that Russia had hit energy infrastructure facilities, leading to emergency power outages in Ukraine.
However, the nationwide power system remains functioning and intact, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
Ukrainian media reported explosions in several parts of the country south of Kyiv, including Cherkasy, Kryvyi Rih and the Black Sea port of Odesa, where the water company said power was out to pumping stations, leaving the city without water.
“The enemy is again attacking the territory of Ukraine with missiles!” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, wrote on Telegram.
Tymoshenko said two people were killed and three others were injured, including a 22-month-old child, in the village of Novosofiyivka in the southern Zaporizhzhia region.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said land-based missiles were launched from southern Russia and shipborne missiles from the Caspian and Black seas. Russian strategic bombers also launched missiles, he said.
Earlier Monday, Russian media reported two explosions at air bases in Russia. One reportedly happened at a base that houses nuclear-capable strategic bombers that have been involved in launching strikes against Ukraine.
In a video address on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said air defenses shot down most of the Russian missiles fired at Ukraine, and energy workers have already begun work on restoring power supplies.
“I would like to thank our air defense forces, our energy workers and our people. The air defense shot down most missiles. The energy workers have begun restoring power supplies. Our people never give up,” he said.
Ukraine’s air force command said it shot down more than 60 of over 70 missiles launched by Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian state television Monday showed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday driving a Mercedes across the Crimean Bridge linking southern Russia to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, less than two months since an explosion tore through one of the Kremlin chief’s showcase infrastructure projects.
Putin, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, inspected the bridge and the point where the attack took place last October.
Russia’s latest barrage comes on the heels of the decision of the G-7 on Monday to cap Russian seaborne oil at $60 a barrel. Russia said the measure will not put a dent in its economy.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the cost of Western sanctions on Russia is mounting daily, making it more difficult for Moscow to replenish its weaponry to advance its ongoing war with Ukraine.
With trade controls imposed by the United States and its allies, Blinken said Russia cannot import the parts it needs to build more weapons to replace the ones that have been destroyed on the battlefields in Ukraine or sometimes abandoned as Moscow’s forces have retreated in the face of Ukrainian advances.
The top U.S. diplomat told CNN’s “State of the Union” program, “The costs are accumulating every day. The burden on Russia gets heavier every day.”
Blinken accused Russia of “trying to weaponize winter” with its barrage of airstrikes in recent weeks targeting Ukrainian power and water supplies to undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people. “This is indeed barbaric.”
Russian energy chief, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, said Sunday that Moscow will not sell oil that is subject to a Western price cap, even if it has to cut production.
Novak called the $60-a-barrel price cap imposed Friday by the G-7 leading industrialized countries and Australia a gross interference in world energy trade, an action that could lead to a supply shortage.
“We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilize the market,” Novak said.