Russia pounded Ukraine with missiles during the morning rush hour on Thursday, killing at least one person in Kyiv and damaging critical infrastructure in the Black Sea region of Odesa, officials said.
Crowds of people took cover in the capital’s metro stations during a nationwide air alert before Russia unleashed the latest in a series of air attacks on the power grid since October that have caused sweeping outages during winter.
The missile strikes followed a drone attack overnight, one day after Ukraine secured pledges of supplies of main battle tanks from Germany and the United States to beef up its troops -a move that infuriated Russian officials.
Air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said as many six Tu-95 warplanes had taken off from the Arctic region of Murmansk in northern Russia and launched long-range missiles.
He said he expected a volley of more than 30 missiles and that air defence forces were trying to shoot them down.
Kyiv authorities said their air defences had taken down all the more than 15 Russian missiles fired at the capital, but that the threat remained and residents should not leave shelters.
Minutes later, loud explosions rocked two districts of Kyiv. City officials said a 55-year-old man had been killed and two other people wounded when non-residential buildings in the south of the city were struck.
Impacts were also reported in the central region of Vynnitsia and elsewhere.
“There is already information about the damage to two critical energy infrastructure facilities in Odesa region,” the Odesa District Military Administration wrote on Telegram, adding that there were no casualties in those attacks.
At the beginning of the attack, a Reuters reporter heard the sound of a missile flying overhead at a low altitude, about 30 km (19 miles) from Kyiv.
Iryna, an accountant in her fifties, was sat on a bench among the crowds sheltering in the Universitet metro station said she was worried about her husband.
“He was planning to go to a post office in the morning and now he is not answering his phone,” she said.
DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy producer, said it was conducting emergency power shutdowns in Kyiv, the surrounding region and also the regions of Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk because of the danger of missile attacks.
Other power producers said they were conducting emergency power shutdowns in other parts of Ukraine.
Overnight, the military said its anti-aircraft defences had shot down all 24 drones sent by Russia.
Fifteen of the drones were downed around the capital Kyiv where there were no reports of any damage.