Russia launched a devastating attack on Ukraine on Friday, firing more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones, which resulted in the deaths of at least 22 individuals.
The majority of the fatalities occurred in Uman, a city located 134 miles south of Kyiv, where two missiles hit a residential building, killing 20 people, including three children.
An elderly woman living in a neighboring building also died from internal bleeding caused by the explosion’s shockwave. The strikes on Uman were not near the active combat zones in eastern Ukraine, where a prolonged war of attrition has taken hold.
Moscow has frequently launched long-range missile attacks during the 14-month war, often indiscriminately hitting civilian areas. Ukrainian officials and analysts have claimed that these strikes are part of a deliberate intimidation strategy by the Kremlin.
The Russian defense ministry claimed that the long-range cruise missiles launched overnight were aimed at places where Ukrainian military reserve units were staying before their deployment to the battlefield. Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, the defense ministry’s spokesman, stated that “The strike has achieved its goal. All the designated facilities have been hit,” although he did not mention any specific areas or residential buildings being hit.
Survivors of the Uman strikes recounted terrifying moments as the missiles hit while it was still dark outside. The city’s anti-aircraft system was activated, according to the Kyiv city administration. Air raid sirens began at about 4 am and ended about two hours later.
The missile attack was the first on the capital since March 9, and air defenses have thwarted Russian drone attacks more recently. The missiles were fired from aircraft operating in the Caspian Sea region, according to Ukrainian armed forces commander-in-chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Overall, he said that Ukraine intercepted 21 of 23 Kh-101 and Kh-555 type cruise missiles launched, as well as the two drones.
The war largely ground to a halt over the winter, becoming a war of attrition as each side has shelled the other’s positions from a distance.
Ukraine has been building up its mechanized brigades with armor supplied by its Western allies, who have also been training Ukrainian troops and sending ammunition, as Kyiv eyes a possible counteroffensive.
In the meantime, the Moscow-appointed mayor of the Russia-held city of Donetsk, Alexei Kulemzin, claimed that a Ukrainian rocket killed seven civilians in the center of the city on Friday. He said the victims died when a minibus was hit.