“A bad morning,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyj in a video message in front of his office on Monday morning. He stood there all alone with only a Ukrainian flag waving in the wind behind him as he apparently spoke into his mobile phone, faster and quieter than usual. “We are dealing with terrorists.” The Russian attacks had two targets, the energy system and meet people. “And always remember: Ukraine existed before this enemy appeared and will also exist after him.”
While the Ukrainian President was still distributing this video message, there was an air alert in many regions of his country. Only a short time earlier, Russian rockets had also fallen in the center of the capital Kyiv, killing at least five people; Dozens more were injured.
Two days after the Crimean bridge explosion, Russia launched massive rocket attacks on targets across Ukraine. Cities in the center and west of the country were also hit, which have not been attacked for a long time or have so far been largely spared. According to the Ukrainian civil defense, at least eleven people were killed and at least 64 others were injured.
Attacks on civilian infrastructure
Several rockets fell in the morning rush hour in the center of Kyiv, but important “decision centers” and administrative buildings were apparently not hit. Ukrainian media reported damage to several museums and the State Philharmonic. Images from the Ukrainian capital also show rocket craters on streets and next to a children’s playground in central Shevchenko Park. An office building was also hit, in which the visa office of the German embassy is located – which is currently not in operation.
In its attacks, the Russian army apparently targeted civilian infrastructure targets, such as thermal power plants. As a result, hospitals and other facilities had to switch to the emergency power supply. The authorities called on citizens to use electricity as sparingly as possible on Monday evening so that the system does not collapse. In several cities, such as Kharkiv, water and electricity supplies were cut off. The operation of the subway was also temporarily interrupted in Kyiv and Kharkiv.
The Ukrainian army said the attacks were carried out in part by long-range Russian bombers. In addition, the Russian fleet fired cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea. Apparently, some projectiles penetrated Moldovan airspace, whereupon Chisinau summoned the Russian ambassador. The Ukrainian army speaks of a total of 83 rockets fired, of which 52 were intercepted. In addition, Russia would also have attacked from Belarusian territory using Iranian Shahed 136 kamikaze drones.
Crimean Bridge is central to supplying the Russian military
Military intelligence of Ukraine said that Russian troops received the order to “carry out missile strikes on civilian infrastructure” on October 2-3, before the explosion on the Crimean bridge. As a result, the corresponding Russian aircraft and warships were relocated. The main goals are “the destruction of thermal power plants, the spread of panic in Ukraine and the intimidation of European societies”.
Russia’s state television reported all morning about the “explosions” in Ukrainian cities, initially without naming Russia as the perpetrator. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was soon asked if the attacks were in response to the Crimean Bridge explosion on Saturday morning. Finally, on Sunday evening, Putin spoke of a “terrorist attack” by the Ukrainian secret service SBU “aimed at destroying critical civilian infrastructure in the Russian Federation.”