By Andrew E. Kramer, Ivan Nechepurenko and Victoria Kim
Russia launched its biggest aerial attack in weeks on Thursday, hitting targets across Ukraine with a complex barrage of weapons including its newest hypersonic missiles, in what it said was retaliation for an incursion last week by a pro-Ukrainian armed group in the Bryansk region of Russia.
Ending weeks of relative calm in Kyiv and other cities, the strikes killed at least nine people nationwide, knocked out power in several areas and damaged three electrical plants, Ukrainian officials said. The strikes included six of the new hypersonic missiles known as Kinzhals, or Daggers, the most Russia has used in a single wave since the war began a year ago, according to Ukraine’s air force.
The strikes included six of the new hypersonic missiles known as Kinzhals, or Daggers, the most Russia has used in a single wave since the war began a year ago, according to Ukraine’s air force. Overall, Russia fired nine types of cruise and ballistic missiles alongside a volley of eight Iranian-made exploding drones.
Of the 81 missiles fired overnight and through the morning, 47 hit targets, Ukraine said. That is a far higher ratio of strikes to missiles fired than Russia has achieved in barrages over recent months. Moscow’s higher success rate was made possible because Russian forces used some of their limited supply of hypersonic Kinzhal missiles and a higher than typical number of ballistic rather than cruise missiles, Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s air force, said in an interview.
Here are the latest developments:
— Five people were killed in their homes when a rocket landed in a residential area in the western region of Lviv, bordering Poland, and one person died in the Dnipropetrovsk region of central Ukraine, local officials said. To the north, in the Kharkiv region near the border with Russia, 15 missiles hit infrastructure and a residential building, the head of the region’s military administration said on Telegram. Three people were also killed in Russian shelling in the southern city of Kherson, officials said.
— In the capital, Kyiv, two large explosions an hour apart injured at least two residents and sent a plume of black smoke billowing from the city’s center, rattling windows and engulfing cars in flames. At least one hypersonic missile appeared to have struck the capital, an official in Kyiv said.
— The head of the United Nations’ nuclear agency issued an impassioned plea after the strikes cut off the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine from external power lines and forced it to switch to diesel generators. It was the sixth time the plant had to move to its emergency power supply since the war began, the official, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said. “If we allow this to continue time after time, then one day our luck will run out,” he said, referring to the possibility of a nuclear accident.
— Georgia’s governing party, facing mounting pressure from protesters, said on Thursday that it had decided to withdraw proposed legislation on “foreign agents.” Critics said the bill mimicked a Russian law used by the Kremlin to thwart opposition news media outlets and civil society.