Russia fired dozens of missiles and drones at Ukraine on Wednesday in a “massive” early morning attack that killed at least four and injured more than a dozen, officials in Kyiv said.
Russian strikes on the capital Kyiv killed three people, local authorities said, as images showed a large fire billowing in the top floors of a high-rise residential building.
“Another massive attack against our country. Six regions were under enemy attack,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on social media.
Attacks were also recorded in the northeast and south of the country as well as in the western Lviv region, hundreds of kilometres from the frontlines.
Three people were killed in Kyiv, while one person was killed in the southern Mykolaiv region, officials said.
“The enemy carried out several strikes on the territory of Ukraine, using various means of air attack — strike UAVs, cruise, ballistic and anti-aircraft guided missiles,” commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny said.
He said Russia fired a total 20 drones and 44 missiles in the morning attack.
Ukraine’s air force shot down 15 of the drones and 29 of the missiles, he added.
At least 16 were injured in Kyiv, the city administration said, with other officials warning the toll could rise.
A hit to an 18-storey residential building in Kyiv’s southern Golosiivskyi district triggered a fire on the top floors, with dark smoke seen billowing from its blown-out windows.
Some 52 people were evacuated from the building, the Kyiv city administration said.
An AFP journalist saw 13 ambulances and nine fire engines at the site, and firefighters inside the building attempting to put out the blaze.
“There are probably dead people under the rubble,” Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said.
As rescuers were working in Kyiv, Zelensky’s top aide branded Russian President Vladimir Putin a “criminal” in a post on social media.
“Russian missiles. Kyiv. Again a residential building. This is what they spend their money on. Attacks on civilians. Ukraine needs help,” Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said.
The attack started at around 06:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT), Ukraine’s air force said, with the all-clear sounding just before 09:00 a.m.
Energy outages were also recorded in parts of the Ukrainian capital, with almost 20,000 left without power, the energy ministry said.
In the southern Mykolaiv region, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said the attack stripped roofs off 20 houses and damaged gas and water pipes in the port city, where one was killed.
The attack came as EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell was making a visit to the capital.
He went to an air-raid shelter in his hotel during the attack, an AFP journalist saw.