In the resumption of hostilities, Russia fired a barrage of cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets early Friday morning, ending a nearly 80-day lull, CNN reported, citing Ukrainian officials.
The airstrike in Kiev lasted almost two hours, but air defenses successfully intercepted all missiles heading towards the capital, said Serhii Popko, head of the military administration of the city of Kiev. Although some houses in Kiev suffered damage from “downed enemy targets,” the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said.
A rocket that struck Pavlohrad in Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region resulted in one death and four injuries, according to CNN, as announced by Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.
Meanwhile, nighttime strikes in the eastern Kharkov region claimed one life and injured several others. Damage was reported in Kupiansk district and Kharkov city, including a damaged residential building and numerous affected apartments and cars.
According to Oleh Syniehubov, head of the military administration of the Kharkov region, Russia targeted Kharkov with six S-300 missiles, prompting an investigation by the Ukrainian Attorney General's office.
The rocket barrage, consisting of 19 rockets across Ukraine, was the first such attack in more than two months. Western intelligence assessments had warned of a possible escalation of Russian bombardment of civilian infrastructure during the winter.
Of the 19 missiles launched, 14 were reportedly destroyed in the Kiev and Dnipropetrovsk regions, according to Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, as reported by CNN.
“After a long pause of 79 days, the enemy resumed attacks with cruise missiles launched by strategic aircraft Tu-95MS. Preliminary, about 10 bombers fired cruise missiles of the Kh-101/555/55 type from the city area of English Saratov region ,” said Popko on Telegram.
The last significant cruise missile attack on Ukraine took place on September 21, with 43 missiles launched and 36 intercepted, according to Air Force Command's official Telegram account. In November, Russia launched a major drone strike using 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones, followed on Wednesday by another 48 Shaheds.
Ukraine's deputy chief of defense intelligence, Vadym Skibitsky, had warned in November that Russia could use a combination of missiles and drones to attack Ukrainian infrastructure during the winter. Despite improved Ukrainian defenses this winter, Skibitsky warned that Russian attacks would be more sophisticated than last year's primitive attacks, CNN reported.
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