Russia Launches Missile Strikes Across Ukraine: Kyiv Warns Of Possible New Moscow Offensive


(RFE/RL) — A barrage of Russian missiles was reported across Ukraine as Kyiv said that Moscow may launch a new offensive and the Kremlin warned Washington not to send Ukraine more sophisticated weapons.

Ukrainian authorities reported explosions and missile strikes in the capital, Kyiv, southern Kryviy Rih, southeastern Zaporizhzhya, and northeastern Kharkiv.

In Kryviy Rih in central Ukraine, a Russian missile hit a residential building and destroyed its entrance. Two people were killed, and at least five others were injured — including two children — and rushed to hospitals, regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.

The southeastern city of Zaporizhzhya was struck by about 15 Russian missiles, regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh said, adding that infrastructure had been damaged.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that the city was without electricity after authorities there said three missiles had hit critical infrastructure.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in at least four districts. He urged residents to head to shelters.

“The attack on the capital continues,” he wrote on Telegram. Subway services in the capital were suspended, he said, as city residents flocked inside its tunnels to seek shelter.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Inhat told Ukrainian TV that more than 60 missiles had been fired. It was unclear how many missiles had been intercepted by Ukrainian air defense systems.

Ihnat said Russian forces had fired cruise missiles from positions in the Black Sea, and used bomber aircraft as part of an effort to “massively distract the attention of the anti-aircraft defense, keeping it in tension.”

Ukrzaliznytsia, the national railway operator, said damage to energy infrastructure had caused power outages at a number of stations in the eastern and central Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk regions. It said trains continued to run by switching from electric power to steam-engine power, which had been readied as a backup.

The strikes targeting energy infrastructure have been part of a new Russian strategy to try to freeze Ukrainians into submission after several key battlefield losses for Russian forces in recent months.

Earlier, Ukraine’s military said Russia’s main focus remained on the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka, but that it was also trying to get a stronger foothold in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya.

The fresh Russian missile attacks come as Moscow warned Washington against delivering sophisticated air defense systems to Ukraine, saying those systems would be a “legitimate target” for the Russian military, a threat that was quickly rejected by the United States.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on December 15 that if reports about U.S. plans to provide Kyiv with Patriot surface-to-air missile system prove true, it would become “another provocative move by the U.S.” and broaden its involvement in the hostilities, “entailing possible consequences.”

Asked about the Russian warning, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that the United States was “not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine.”

His comments came as the U.S. military announced it will expand training in Germany of Ukrainian military personnel. Starting in January, 500 troops a month will be trained, building on more than 15,000 Ukrainians trained by the United States and its allies since April.

Meanwhile, senior Ukrainian defense officials predicted that Russia will launch a new offensive early next year that could include a second attempt to take the capital, Kyiv.

Moscow’s new offensive could happen as soon as January, General Valeriy Zaluzhniy and Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskiy were quoted as saying in interviews with The Economist magazine on December 15.

“The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops. I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv,” Zaluzhniy was quoted as saying.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov also said in remarks published in The Guardian on December 15 that evidence is growing that Russia planned a broad new offensive.

“The second part of the mobilization, 150,000 approximately…do a minimum of three months to prepare. It means they are trying to start the next wave of the offensive probably in February, like last year. That’s their plan,” Reznikov told The Guardian.

Russia is continuing to build up its military presence in Belarus, a senior Ukrainian military official said.

Russian units “are undergoing training and combat coordination” in Belarus, with the Kremlin using Belarusian officers and training grounds to improve the combat capability of existing units, as well as to train newly created units, according to Oleksiy Hromov, the deputy head of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate

Speaking at a press briefing on December 15, Hromov said the probability of a Russian offensive from Belarus “remains low,” but he highlighted that the transfer of Russian weapons to Belarus is ongoing, including three hypersonic missile-carrying aircraft, a set of tanks and a long-range radar-detection aircraft.

In other news, the Russin-installed head of Donetsk, Aleksei Kulemzin, said on December 15 that the city center had been hit by what he described as the biggest such strike since the area came under the control of Russian-backed separatists in 2014. Kulemzin said residential buildings, a hospital, and a university campus were hit in the alleged Ukrainian missile strike.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

One thought on “Russia Launches Missile Strikes Across Ukraine: Kyiv Warns Of Possible New Moscow Offensive

  • December 17, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    What a revelation the last paragraph is. Until now every western report of the Ukraine war has all damage caused by Russian missiles and artillery. Ukrainian artillery fire, the stuff that makes all the difference, the billions of dollars of arms from the USA, seemed to go up but never come down.


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