Powerful explosions reported in several Ukrainian cities

Powerful explosions rocked several Ukrainian cities on Tuesday, according to local officials. The reported strikes came after Moscow accused Kiev of carrying out deadly “terrorist attacks” on Belgorod, vowing retaliation.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the strikes, saying it had used drones and long-range, high-precision weapons to target Ukrainian defense industry facilities that produce missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and other military equipment.

The attack was also aimed at destroying storage facilities loaded with missiles and various types of ammunition, including those provided by Kiev’s Western backers, officials stated, adding that “all targets have been hit.”

Blasts were reported in several districts of Kiev by its mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He said that some facilities and residential buildings had been cut off from power, adding that “in some areas, there is a temporary lack of pressure in the water supply network”.

Ukraine’s Energy Ministry claimed that the strikes had left about 260,000 of the city’s residents without access to electricity.

According to the mayor, there were several fires in Podolsky district in the western part of the Ukrainian capital; one warehouse building was affected. He added that another warehouse was on fire in the northwest of the capital.

Later, Klitschko claimed that 20 people had been injured as a result of a rocket strike in western Solomensky district, and that 19 of them had been hospitalized.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia scrambled nine MiG-31 fighters, which launched a barrage of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. It also warned of “significant activity of enemy tactical aviation” in the waters of the Sea of Azov.

Several videos posted on social media show large fires in the Ukrainian capital, with one clip purporting to show a missile flying over the city.

Ukrainian officials also said that Moscow launched a “massive rocket attack” on Kharkov, which is located near the country’s border with Russia and less than 80 km away from Belgorod. Oleg Sinegubov, the head of the regional administration, claimed that there had been at least six rocket strikes, adding that there have been dozens of casualties.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that four people died in the strikes and that another 92 were wounded, adding that the country’s emergency services are working to eliminate the fallout from the attack.

Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s envoy to the UN, said on Saturday that Kiev often deploys its air defense systems in residential districts in violation of international law, resulting in casualties among civilians.

The attack comes after the Russian Defense Ministry announced it had carried out high-precision missile strikes on Sunday, on airports where Ukrainian jets carrying UK-supplied Storm Shadow missiles were based. It claimed that all targets had been hit.

On Saturday, Ukrainian forces launched a powerful missile barrage at the Russian border city of Belgorod, killing 25 people, including five children, and injuring 109. Overnight on December 31-January 1, they also shelled Donetsk, with the strike claiming the lives of four people and wounding another 13.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Kiev’s terrorist attacks wouldn’t go unanswered, vowing to ramp up strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure. He stressed, however, that Moscow had no plans to retaliate in kind by targeting civilians.

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