- Russia launches new missile strikes in Ukraine
- Two deaths were reported overnight in southeastern Ukraine
- Gas production facilities have been damaged, Naftogaz says
KYIV, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Russia struck Ukraine’s energy facilities and its largest rocket booster factory on Thursday in fresh missile attacks that Ukrainian officials condemned as terrorism.
Explosions rocked cities including the southern port of Odessa, the capital Kiev, the central city of Dnipro and the southeastern region of Zaporizhia. Two people were killed there, officials said.
Prime Minister Denis Schmihal said targets of a second wave of heavy missile attacks this week included the large Bivdenmash defense plant in Dnipro. He did not give details of any damage, but state energy company Naftogaz said gas production facilities in eastern Ukraine were damaged or destroyed.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy released video footage, shot from a car camera, showing a driver’s journey through Dnipro interrupted by a huge explosion ahead, which sent flames and black smoke into the sky.
“Whatever the terrorists want and whatever they try to achieve, we must get through this winter and be even stronger in the spring than we are now, even more ready for the liberation of our entire territory than we are now.” he said.
At least 15 people were injured in Dnipro, three in the northeastern city of Kharkiv and at least one in Odesa, local officials said. Ukrainian officials reported heavy fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine.
The mayor of the city of Melitopol, in southeastern Ukraine, said there was no heat in the city. Other areas are already subject to blackouts to conserve power after damage caused by airstrikes on Tuesday.
The managing director of DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy provider, said prolonged outages in some regions could last for days.
“Unfortunately, there may be a few hours of electricity,” Dmytro Sakarchuk said, according to Interfax Ukraine news agency. “It’s two or three hours a day.”
Some Russian missiles were destroyed
Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, has stepped up attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities in recent weeks. Moscow has rejected terrorism charges, saying its military operations are aimed at rooting out dangerous nationalists and protecting Russian-speakers.
Ukraine says its air defenses have shot down several missiles and drones launched in the past few weeks. Kyiv city officials said four missiles and five Iranian-made Shahed drones were destroyed near the city on Thursday.
The latest attacks prompted Ukrainian officials to make fresh calls for its international allies to send more air defense systems. They also said that Ukraine will stand firm.
“The enemy thinks he can weaken our defenses and stab us in the back with energy attacks. This is a naive tactic of cowardly losers, and we are ready,” Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote in a telegram. “They will not win, we will crush them.”
Additional reporting by Max Hunter, Dan Peleschuk and Aleksandar Vasovic Editing by Timothy Heritage
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