Ukrainians prepare to ring in the new year in darkness as Russian missile barrage hit energy infrastructure while Belarus intercepts a Kiev S-300 missile
Ukrainian officials and media reported a Russian missile barrage on Thursday, with explosions said to be heard throughout the country. The capital, Kiev, faces new blackouts, its mayor has warned, while other cities reported experiencing power disruptions.
An air alert was issued early in the morning across all of Ukraine. Blast sounds, which some officials attributed to Ukrainian air defenses engaging Russian missiles, were reported in several large cities, including Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.
The mayor of the city of Kharkov, Igor Terekhov, reported that some of the missiles had hit targets in his city, without identifying them. The head of Kharkov Region, Oleg Sinegubov, said there were four rocket hits and that critical infrastructure was targeted.
Odessa Region Governor Maxim Marchenko reported that a strike on energy infrastructure caused a partial blackout in the province. Debris of an intercepted Russian missile fell on a residential building, he claimed.
Vitaly Klitschko, the mayor of the Ukrainian capital, warned residents about possible power cuts and urged them to stockpile water and charge their devices. Lviv Mayor Andrey Sadovoy, reported that 90% of his city was without power, forcing the suspension of trams and trolleys.
The Russian military did not immediately confirm firing a barrage of missiles on Thursday. Mikhail Podoliak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, claimed in a tweet that Moscow had fired over 120 missiles.
Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko assessed last week that it would take six months to “stabilise” the country’s energy system, provided that Russia stops causing damage to it.
Belarusian forces intercepted and destroyed a Ukrainian S-300 anti-air missile on Thursday, the Defense Ministry has said.
According to the MOD, parts of the missile fell on agricultural land near the village of Gorbakha in the country’s southwestern Brest Region, which shares a border with Ukraine. There were no casualties.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been briefed about the incident, state news agency Belta said.
Photos posted on social media show missile parts lying in the middle of a field. The incident comes as officials in Minsk accuse Kiev of amassing troops and setting up firing positions across the border. The Belarusian government restricted movement in several border areas last week, citing tensions with Ukraine.