Russia launched a series of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities on Monday as it stepped up its attacks on infrastructure across the country.
Explosions and air raid sirens were heard early Monday in Kyiv, and 80 percent of residents were without water – many also lost electricity – following power outages caused by the Russian strikes, the capital’s mayor Vitaliy Klitschko told Telegram.
One of the strikes hit a power plant that supplies 350,000 homes in the capital, Klitschko said, adding that emergency services were trying to restore power and “stabilize the situation as soon as possible.”
Attacks on critical infrastructure were also reported in the central regions of Cherkasy and Kirovohrad, the eastern region of Kharkiv and the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.
The wave of strikes comes after Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Crimean city of Sevastopol over the weekend. Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014 and has controlled the territory ever since.
Klitschko urged residents of the capital to get water from shops and pumping stations after the attack on a nearby power plant.
“Currently, due to damage to the energy facility near Kyiv, 80% of consumers in the capital remain without water supply,” he told Telegram. “Just in case, we ask you to reserve water from the nearest pumps and outlets. “Specialists are doing everything possible to return water to the apartments of Kyiv residents.”
He later said supplies would be restored to the capital’s east coast and part of the west coast within hours. He added that the power supply in the Desnianski district has been “partially restored”.
Speaking to CNN on the ground in Kyiv, 31-year-old Yana Lysenko said: “Monday morning started horribly as usual. I have a 4-year-old child, so of course I feel stressed.
“Right now we don’t have water, but we have electricity.” We hope that the services will be restored very soon. Our spirit is very high, and we are waiting for victory. “Such terrorist actions aimed at water and electricity supply, I believe they no longer scare people.”
Victor Halashan, age 70, told CNN he remains positive despite the lack of water supply.
“Not having water is good, we can handle this,” he said, adding that he hoped Ukrainian troops would bring us closer to victory soon.
Local office worker Oleksandr Nechepuriak told CNN he was collecting water for 15 people.
“It’s important that (the office) works,” said Nechepuriak, who works in food production.
“We will deal with this,” he said, adding that “there are no other options.”
Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko, described the attacks as “barbaric”, saying on Facebook: “Electricity substations, hydro plants and heat generation facilities were hit by rocket fire.”
He added: “As a result of this massive attack, there was a partial blackout and emergency power outage schedules were put in place for consumers in Kyiv, Cherkasy (and) Zaporozhye and Cherkasy, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Zaporozhye, (and) Poltava . regions.”
Water supplies in Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second-largest city – were also affected after an infrastructure facility was hit, while most metro train services were halted, Mayor Ihor Terekhov told Telegram.
“The impact fell on a critical infrastructure plant, resulting in the shutdown of the metro and ground electric transport,” he said. “Currently, we managed to open the Kholodnohirsko-Zavodska (metro) line, and we replaced the trolleybuses and trams with buses.
Terekhov said that engineers are “doing everything possible to restore the water supply to the homes of Kharkiv residents as soon as possible.”
Two missiles hit Kharkiv on Monday morning, the mayor told Telegram earlier.
And in the central city of Krivi Rih, a missile hit an industrial plant, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said on Telegram.
“During the morning missile attack, two missiles were shot down (thanks to the Air Defense Forces), and one cruise missile hit an industrial plant,” he said. There are no reports of casualties.
Monday’s attacks hit 10 regions and damaged 18 facilities, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmykhal said on Telegram.
“Their target was not military facilities, but civilian critical infrastructure,” Schmihal said. “Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 facilities were damaged, most of which are energy-related.
He said “hundreds of neighborhoods in seven regions” had lost power and engineers were “working at full capacity” to repair the damage.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched more than 50 cruise missiles into Ukraine on Monday and said it intercepted 44 of them.
“At 7:00 a.m. on October 31, the Russian occupiers launched several waves of missile attacks on critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine,” the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.
“More than 50 X-101/X-555 cruise missiles were launched by Tu-95/Tu-160 strategic aviation missile aircraft north of the Caspian Sea and the Volgodonsk region (Rostov region). The Ukrainian military destroyed 44 cruise missiles, the Air Force statement added.
At least 10 Russian missiles were shot down over Kyiv early Monday, regional police chief Andriy Nebitov told Telegram.
“Police of the Kyiv region are now discovering remnants of the downed rockets of the occupiers in various areas of the region,” he said. “Air Defense Forces shot down at least 10 enemy missiles.”
Oleksiy Kuleba, head of the Kyiv region’s military administration, said the attacks “hit critical infrastructure targets” and that two people were injured, one seriously.
The missiles were launched Monday by Soviet-era Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers that took off from Russia’s Rostov region and over the Caspian Sea, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command said on television.
Yuriy Ikhnat said there had been “several waves of missile launches” and reiterated the claim that Ukraine shot down a “really high percentage”.
Moscow defended the attacks. The Russian Defense Ministry reported to Telegram on Monday that it had targeted Ukraine’s “military command and energy systems”.
“The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continued their attacks with high-precision, long-range air and naval weapons against the military command and energy systems of Ukraine,” the statement said. “All assigned objects are affected.”
In recent weeks, Russia has launched a series of attacks on Ukraine’s energy and heating infrastructure.
Even before Monday’s strikes, the situation was dire. On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said about four million Ukrainians had power cuts after attacks on energy infrastructure that day.
The attack on the infrastructure is part of a larger plan by President Vladimir Putin, Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, told CNN last week.
“Putin’s game plan is obvious: he wants to make this winter the coldest and darkest in Ukraine’s history,” she said.
“He will continue to hit the infrastructure networks to knock out the power and heat of Ukraine.” His kamikaze drone attacks are aimed at breaking the will of the Ukrainian people and causing panic.”
Monday’s attacks come after Russia suspended its participation in a United Nations-brokered grain deal seen as key to tackling global food shortages. Moscow announced it was leaving the agreement on Saturday, blaming Ukraine for the drone attack in Crimea. Kyiv has accused Russia of concocting “fictitious terrorist attacks” and using the deal as “blackmail”.
In a regular briefing with reporters on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Black Sea grain deal was “risky” and “dangerous” if Russia could not guarantee the safety of navigation.
Asked if it was possible for the grain agreement to continue without Russia’s participation, Peskov said that without Russia guaranteeing the safety of navigation in these areas, “such an agreement is hardly feasible.”