upr-header-1.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Russia launches new wave of air attacks across Ukraine

Civilians sit on an escalator while taking shelter inside a metro station during an air raid alert in the center of Kyiv on Dec. 16, 2022. A fresh barrage of Russian strikes hit cities across Ukraine early on Friday.
Dimitar Dilkoff
/
AFP via Getty Images
Civilians sit on an escalator while taking shelter inside a metro station during an air raid alert in the center of Kyiv on Dec. 16, 2022. A fresh barrage of Russian strikes hit cities across Ukraine early on Friday.

Updated December 16, 2022 at 10:26 AM ET

KYIV — Russia launched another air offensive against Ukraine on Friday morning, and Ukraine's Commander-in Chief, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, says the country's air defenses shot down 60 of the 72 missiles.

Regional military administrators in 10 of Ukraine's 24 regions reported blasts. The air raid comes two days after Ukrainian forces said they shot down thirteen drones in the capital region.

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko reported at least three strikes on the city. The regional military administrator for Kyiv, Oleksiy Kuleba, says nine residential buildings were damaged. A statement from the city hall claimed that 40 cruise missiles headed toward the Kyiv, and called it one of the biggest attacks on the capital since Russia invaded in February.

Klitschko cautioned that the city's water supply and internet may be shut off because of infrastructure damage. Repeated loud explosions could be heard from the capital's center, often in quick succession.

The southern city of Zaporizhzhia was hit 12 times, according to the regional military administration there, and in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih a rocket hit a residential building, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the regional military administrator. He said that at least two people died, and that rescuers were working to retrieve more people under the rubble.

Several cities, including Ukraine's second-largest, Kharkiv, are without power according to local officials. Heating supplies have disappeared from other cities as temperatures hover around freezing.

The mayor of Kharkiv, a large city in the northeast of Ukraine near the Russian border, also said that their city had lost power.

"There are colossal damages to infrastructure," said Mayor Ihor Terekhov.

He encouraged people to visit public shelters with heat, power and internet access throughout the city. Kharkiv detectives say they found shards of eight cruise missiles.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink tweeted that the first shipment of emergency repair equipment from the U.S. had arrived.

Ukraine's national railroad hitched diesel locomotives to its electric trains in several southern regions. Most trains were still running on schedule, but the company said they were installing generators to keep major logistical centers operational. Displaced people have relied on the rail system to evacuate from southern areas under heavy bombardment — including Kherson where several people have been killed in recent days.

The latest wave of attacks comes after a Kremlin's spokesman said Russia would respond to reports that the U.S. would send Patriot Missiles to Ukraine. He called such a move an escalation in the conflict.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: December 15, 2022 at 10:00 PM MST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that at least 80 missiles were launched at Ukraine. In fact, regional military administrators said at least 70 missiles were launched.
Julian Hayda
Tim Mak is NPR's Washington Investigative Correspondent, focused on political enterprise journalism.
Hanna Palamarenko