Russian strikes on Ukraine kill at least one as attacks on Kyiv resume

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Kharkiv
Russia has launched a wave of cruise missiles against Ukraine, killing at least one person and injuring six, as the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, warned of attacks by Moscow this winter on energy infrastructure.
Air raid sirens sounded across Kyiv and other cities. Seven Russian Tu-95 bombers took off from the Engels airbase in the Saratov region and fired 19 missiles from Russian airspace. Air defence systems shot down 14 of them, Ukrainian officials said, including those heading for the Ukrainian capital.
Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s air force command, told Ukrainian TV that “unfortunately” some missiles had got through.
A person was killed and two people seriously injured in a strike on the eastern city of Pavlohrad, in Dnipropetrovsk province. The missile hit an industrial zone, houses and cottages, and a church and several cars.
Russia also targeted the city of Kharkiv with six S-300 missiles, wounding one person and causing damage to property.
The Kremlin has been using its superior airpower to attack Ukrainian cities and settlements since the beginning of its full-scale invasion. After a pause of nearly a month, it resumed attacks on Kyiv on Friday, where air defences are strongest.
The latest strikes appear to be designed to demoralise Ukrainians as political support for the country abroad appears to be waning, with Vladimir Putin increasingly confident that he can win the war on the ground next year. In the east, Russian troops have recently made tactical gains around the frontline city of Avdiivka.
On Wednesday, the US Senate refused to approve a supplementary funding bill which includes $61bn for Ukraine, as well as help for Israel and Gaza. The White House has warned that military aid to Kyiv is about to run out.
Meanwhile, Hungary’s president, Viktor Orbán, a close ally of the Kremlin, is threatening to block a €50bn financial aid package for Kyiv at a summit next week. He has promised to veto EU accession talks with Ukraine, saying these are premature.
There are also indications that Moscow is stepping up a campaign to cripple Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, amid snowfall across the country and subzero temperatures. Last year, millions of Ukrainians had to rely on generators and candles after Russian attacks on electricity substations.
“I thank every Ukrainian family – everyone who understands the challenges of war and temperature and uses electricity sparingly and rationally,” Zelenskiy said on Thursday in his nightly address.
He said he discussed the challenges of keeping the lights on with his prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, and European partners.
Ukraine’s biggest private energy company, Dtek, said a Russian attack had damaged a thermal power plant overnight in a frontline zone. It did not state which plant was affected, but said two of its power units were no longer functional.
The energy ministry confirmed “serious damage” from enemy shelling. It said there would be a “temporary shortage of electricity” in the national grid and appealed to consumers to “support power engineers by consuming electricity reasonably and economically, especially during peak load hours”.