At least three dead as Russia launches major missile attack across Ukraine

Russia's real target was the power grid, as ITV News' John Ray reports

Three people died after Russian forces launched over 70 missile strikes across Ukraine on Friday, officials said, as they reported explosions in at least four cities that triggered major power outages.

In Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown, a Russian missile hit a residential building and reportedly destroyed its entrance.

The attack killed two people and injured at least eight people, including three children, a senior official said.

A third person died in a fire in the southern Kherson region after an apartment block was hit by shelling, according to authorities.

Elsewhere, electricity and water services were interrupted in the two largest cities, the capital Kyiv and Kharkiv.

A woman cries in front of the building which was destroyed by a Russian attack in Kryvyi Rih. Credit: AP
A man walks during a power outage in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday. Credit: AP

As air defence systems went into operation across Ukraine, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in at least four districts, urging residents to go to shelters. “The attack on the capital continues,” he wrote on Telegram, adding that subway services in the capital were suspended.

The head of the country’s armed forces said Ukrainian forces intercepted 60 of the 76 missiles launched.

'One of the biggest rocket attacks' in Kyiv since the start of the war

More than half of the Russian missiles fired on Friday targeted Kyiv.

The city administration said the capital had withstood “one of the biggest rocket attacks” it has faced since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 10 months ago.

Ukrainian air defence forces shot down 37 of “about 40” that entered the city’s airspace, and one person was injured, the city administration added.

The remains of a rocket that was allegedly shot down after a Russian attack lay on the side of a road in Kyiv. Credit: AP

Kharkiv's mayor, meanwhile, reported "colossal" damage, with many people enduring freezing winter temperatures without heating.

The explosions came as authorities sounded air raid alarms across the country, warning of a new barrage of Russian strikes in what was described as a major missile attack.

Ukraine’s air force said Russian forces had fired cruise missiles from the Admiral Makarov frigate in the Black Sea, while Kh-22 cruise missiles were fired from long-range bombers over the Sea of Azov, and tactical aircraft fired guided missiles.

At the site of one attempted strike in Kyiv, military commanders told The Associated Press that the city’s territorial defence mobile group had shot down a cruise missile with a machine gun.

People rest in the train station, being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv. Credit: AP

State-owned grid operator Ukrenergo said that emergency shutdowns were triggered across the country.

Priority in restoring power will be given to critical infrastructure facilities, including hospitals, water supply facilities, heat supply facilities, and sewage treatment plants, it said in a Facebook post.

Friday’s attack was “the ninth wave of missile strikes on energy facilities,” Ukrenergo said, and because of the repeated damage “the restoration of power supply may take longer than before”.

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 by Russian forces over the last couple of months.

The previous such round of massive Russian air strikes across the country took place on December 5.

Ukrainian officials have painted Moscow as desperate to reverse recent military setbacks - which included a retreat from the strategically vital city of Kherson after months of occupation.

In the latest intelligence update, the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that Russian forces have been reversing to "positional warfare" - something that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades.

"As shown by imagery, in recent weeks, Russian forces have continued to expend considerable effort to construct extensive defensive positions along the front line," the MoD tweeted on Friday.

"They have likely prioritised the northern sector around the town of Svatove."

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