Russian air strikes inflicted further damage on Ukraine on Thursday, with the latest barrages hitting energy infrastructure, residential buildings and industrial sites.
Authorities said at least four people were killed and five others wounded in drone and missile strikes across the country, the Associated Press reported.
In Kyiv, the city’s military administration indicated that air defenses shot down at least two cruise missiles and five Iranian-made drones.
With Kremlin forces pushed back on the ground, Russia has in recent weeks increasingly resorted to air strikes targeting energy infrastructure in parts of Ukraine it does not control.
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This week, analysts say, Ukrainian air defenses appear to have seen much higher rates of successful shootdowns than previous barrages last month. The improvement was partly due to Western air defense systems.
However, some missiles and drones still pass and reach their targets.
Russian missile strikes targeted the Odessa region in southern Ukraine and the city of Dnipro for the first time in weeks on Thursday morning.
Sirens sounded across the country amid fears of another large-scale missile attack by Moscow.
The governor of the Odessa region, Maxim Marchenko, said on his Telegram page that the strike targeted infrastructure on Thursday, warning of the danger of a “massive Russian missile barrage over the entire territory of Ukraine.”
Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Kirillo Tymoshenko said that he had received information that explosions took place in Dnipro, where two infrastructure sites were damaged, and at least one person was injured.
For his part, Oleksiy Kuleba, regional governor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, said that air defense systems are operating in the central Kyiv region.
Officials in Poltava, Kharkiv, Khmelnitsky and Rivne regions urged residents to stay in shelters amid the constant threat of Russian missile strikes.
Thursday’s strike comes on the heels of a massive Russian missile salvo last Tuesday, which also included a missile hitting Poland.
Russia has increasingly targeted Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches, as its battlefield losses mount.
Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, described the strikes on power grid sites as “naive tactics of cowardly losers,” via Telegram on Thursday.
“Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult blows from the enemy, which did not lead to the results that the Russian cowards hoped for,” Yermak wrote.
Yermak urged Ukrainians not to ignore air raid sirens, according to the Associated Press.
For his part, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Wednesday that Kyiv was working with international allies to build an “integrated and coordinated” air defense system.
Reznikov gave no other details in a tweet the day after Russia launched air strikes across Ukraine, but said “protecting Ukrainian skies” would be a priority at a scheduled meeting with allies in Germany, according to Reuters.
He continued, “We are working with our partners to establish an integrated and coordinated air defense system. We are preparing for the winter on the battlefield.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, on Monday, during the G20 summit that his country will provide Ukraine with another $500 million in additional military aid, while imposing sanctions on nearly twenty other Russians.
As for the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, he said, on Wednesday, that the meeting of the international contact group on Ukraine showed a broad commitment to support Kyiv, at a time when the US Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, described the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure as “war crimes.”
Austin stressed that the United States and its allies are working “to strengthen the ability of the Ukrainians to achieve their goals and strengthen their sovereignty on their land,” adding: “We will not dictate to the Ukrainians what to do, and as for the status of Crimea, it is up to them.”
Austin indicated that Washington “believes that Iran and North Korea will continue to provide support to Russia in the form of ammunition and equipment, and this will prolong the war.”