Kremlin bombers, warships and ground platforms launched 69 cruise missiles and Shahed drones in at least two waves of attacks this morning.
The capital Kyiv appeared to be the primary target, but Kremlin strike planners also sent at least 13 Iran-manufactured Shahed suicide drones at infrastructure in the eastern city of Kharkiv, and a covey of at least 11 missiles was fired at Lviv, near the western border with Poland.
Russian Tu-22 strategic bombers flying over the Caspian Sea, well out of range of Ukrainian weapons, fired the majority of the missiles. According to early estimates from Ukraine’s air defense command, between 10 and 12 bombers launched as many as 72 weapons. Most were cruise missiles carrying 200-300-kilogram high explosive warheads.
Russian warships off the shore of the Crimean peninsula fired a follow-up salvo of Kinzhal missiles.
The launches began around 7 a.m. and continued for some two hours. The Russians appeared to be attempting to complicate defense against the attacks by, at times, programming indirect flight paths. Missiles en route to Kyiv targets reportedly entered Ukrainian air space from the northeast, east and south.
As the missiles approached, Ukrainian social media resembled an air defense command data network, with users reporting the overflight of weapons above cities and towns hundreds of kilometers away as they flew onward to targets around the capital.
Precautionary shut downs of the grid in towns and cities in the missiles’ flight paths were widely reported.
In Kyiv, explosions were heard around the city by Kyiv Post reporters. The Kyiv city administration reported one weapon hit “power infrastructure” in Brovary, a suburb to the northeast.
Two Iranian drones hit in the vicinity of grid infrastructure in Kharkiv, a statement from the regional defense command said.
Ukrainian air defenses, as in past attacks, were quick to track the incoming missiles and shoot-downs were reported across the country.
According to early comments from the Kyiv city administration, air defense units around the capital intercepted at least three missiles.
A Kyiv Post reporter in the south of the city observed an air defense smoke trail and heard sky detonations and anti-aircraft weapons firing.
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