KYIV, Ukraine — Russian airstrikes targeted Ukraine’s energy facilities again Thursday as the first snow of the season fell in Kyiv, a harbinger of the hardship to come if Moscow’s missiles continue to take out power and gas plants as winter descends.
Separately, the United Nations announced the extension of a deal to ensure exports of grain and fertilizers from Ukraine that were disrupted by the war. The deal was set to expire soon, renewing fears of a global food crisis if exports were blocked from one of the world’s largest grain producers.
Even as all sides agreed to extend the grain deal, air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine on Thursday. At least seven people were killed and more than two dozen others wounded in the drone and missile strikes, including one that hit a residential building, authorities said.
The Kremlin’s forces have suffered a series of setbacks on the ground, the latest being the loss of the southern city of Kherson. In the face of those defeats, Russia has increasingly resorted to aerial onslaughts aimed at energy infrastructure and other civilian targets in parts of Ukraine it doesn’t hold.
Russia on Tuesday unleashed a nationwide barrage of more than 100 missiles and drones that knocked out power to 10 million people in Ukraine — strikes described by Ukraine’s energy minister as the biggest assault yet on the country’s battered power grid in nearly nine months of war.
It also resulted in a missile landing in Poland, killing two people. Authorities still were trying to ascertain where that missile came from, with early indications pointing to a Ukrainian air defense system seeking to counter the Russian bombardment.
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday visited the site where the missile landed and expressed understanding for Ukraine’s plight. “It is a hugely difficult situation for them and there are great emotions, there is also great stress,” Duda said.
The renewed bombings come as many Ukrainians are coping with the discomforts of regular blackouts and heating outages. A light snow dusted the capital Thursday, where the temperature fell below freezing. Kyiv’s military administration said air defenses shot down four cruise missiles and five Iranian-made exploding drones.
In eastern Ukraine, Russia “launched a massive attack on gas production infrastructure,” said the chief of the state energy company Naftogaz, Oleksiy Chernishov. He did not elaborate.
Russian strikes also hit the central city of Dnipro and Ukraine’s southern Odesa region for the first time in weeks and hit critical infrastructure in the northeastern Kharkiv region near Izium, wounding three workers.
The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, called the strikes on energy targets “naive tactics of cowardly losers.”
“Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult strikes by the enemy, which did not lead to results the Russian cowards hoped for,” Yermak wrote Thursday on Telegram.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that 10 million people in Ukraine were without power on Thursday as well, mainly in the Kyiv, Odesa, Sumy and Vinnytsia regions. Ukraine had a prewar population of about 40 million.Newsletter
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