Ukraine’s presidential palace said on Monday that “many” Ukrainian cities were on strike, a day after Moscow accused Kyiv of an explosion on a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia.
“Ukraine is under missile attack. There are messages of strikes in many cities in our country,” Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office, said on social media, calling on people to “stay in shelters.” Kyiv said Russia fired 75 missiles into Ukraine on Monday morning.
The explosion hit Kyiv at around 8.15am local time (0515 GMT) and an AFP reporter in the city saw many ambulances appearing to be heading towards the blast site. At least five explosions were heard in Kyiv on Monday morning. “Several explosions occurred in the Shevchenkivsky district in the center of the capital,” Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on social media.
Russia attacks Ukrainian energy infrastructure: Zelensky video posted on social media shows black smoke rising in several areas of the city.
The last Russian strike against Kyiv took place on June 26.
The blast came a day after Moscow blamed Ukraine for an explosion on a bridge linking Crimea and Russia that killed three people.
“The author, perpetrator and sponsor were agents of Ukraine,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of Saturday’s Crimea Bridge bombing, which he described as an “act of terror.”
Vladimir Putin made the remarks during a meeting with the head of the investigative committee he set up to investigate the bombing, the Russian news agency reported.
The Kremlin told local news agencies that the Russian leader was preparing for a meeting with his Security Council later on Monday.
“Tomorrow the president will hold a meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The explosion that hit the bridge sparked celebrations in Ukrainians and others on social media.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not directly mention the incident in his Saturday evening speech, nor did Kyiv officials directly claim responsibility.
On Saturday, Russia said some road and rail traffic had been restored on the strategic route, a symbol of the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge is an important supply chain between Russia and the annexed Crimea peninsula.
Some military analysts believe the blast could have a major impact if Moscow sees a need to move already overwhelmed troops from other regions to Crimea — or if it prompts residents to rush out.
Mick Ryan, a retired senior Australian official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that even if Kyiv wasn’t behind the bombing, it constituted “a huge operational victory of influence over Ukraine.
“This is to show the Russians and the rest of the world that the Russian military cannot protect any province it has recently annexed,” he tweeted.
President Vladimir Zelensky said on Monday that there were casualties after multiple attacks on Ukrainian cities, including the first bombing of the capital in months.
President Zelensky said on social media: “The air raid siren around Ukraine has not diminished … Unfortunately, there are casualties. Please do not leave the shelter,” President Zelensky said on social media, accusing Russia of thinking ” wipe us off the face of the earth”.
Meanwhile, President Zelensky condemned a Russian missile attack on Sunday in Zaporozhye that killed at least 13 people, including a child, in the latest deadly bombing of a southern Ukrainian city.
The attack also injured 89 people, including 11 children, according to a statement from the president’s office.
Volodymyr Zelensky described “relentless attacks on peaceful people” and residential building as “absolute evil” committed by “savages and terrorists”.
District official Oleksandr Starukh posted pictures of the badly damaged apartment building on Telegram and said a rescue operation had been launched to find victims under the rubble.
Meanwhile, Russian officials on Sunday condemned what they said was the Ukrainian fire pouring into its territory, hitting homes, administrative buildings and a monastery.
An AFP reporter in the city said one of the projectiles landed near a children’s playground and smoke rose from a large crater at the impact site.
Several nearby trees and benches were scorched in the blast, while several ambulances have arrived in the area.
“The capital is under attack by Russian terrorists!” Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on social media, adding that the strike had hit the city center.
“If there is no urgent need, it is better not to go to the city today. I am also asking residents in the suburbs not to go to the capital today.”
Videos posted on social media showed black smoke rising over several parts of the city.
“Since the beginning of October, the number of attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces on Russian border territory has increased significantly,” Russia’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is in charge of border security, said on Sunday.
More than 100 shells, concentrated in Belgorod, Bryansk and the western border areas of Kursk, hit housing and administrative buildings, the statement said.
The attack killed one person and injured five others.
(Apart from the title, this story was unedited by NDTV staff and was posted from a syndicated feed.)