As Kyiv steels for offensive, Russia launches missile raids and builds up troops near Kupyansk – POLITICO
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KYIV — Russia has launched extensive missile raids across Ukraine and is building up troops near the northeastern city of Kupyansk to test Ukrainian defenses, just as Kyiv is warning that Moscow is gearing up to launch a new offensive.
Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, commander in chief of Ukraine’s army, said in a statement that two Kalibr cruise missiles entered the airspace of Moldova and NATO member Romania, before veering into Ukrainian territory. Romania, however, cautioned that radar only detected a missile launched from a Russian ship in the Black Sea traveling close to its airspace — some 35 kilometers away — but not inside its territory.
“At approximately 10:33 a.m., these missiles crossed Romanian airspace. After that, they again entered the airspace of Ukraine at the crossing point of the borders of the three states. The missiles were launched from the Black Sea,” Zaluzhnyy said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy added, “Several Russian missiles flew through the airspace of Moldova and Romania. Today’s missiles are a challenge to NATO, collective security. This is terror that can and must be stopped. Stopped by the world.”
Governors in Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Khmelnytskyi reported power cuts due to the barrage.
The attack started before dawn in the eastern region of Kharkiv, according to the governor, Oleg Synegubov.
“Today, at 4:00 a.m., about 12 rockets hit critical infrastructure facilities in Kharkiv and the region. Currently, emergency and stabilizing light shutdowns are being employed. About 150,000 people in Kharkiv remain without electricity,” Synegubov said.
Synegubov said the barrage came the same morning as Russian invasion forces increased their attacks near Kupyansk, a city in the Kharkiv region that Ukrainian forces liberated last fall. “The enemy has increased its presence on the front line and is testing our defense lines for weak points. Our defenders reliably hold their positions and are ready for any possible actions of the enemy,” Synegubov said in a statement.
He also reported that about eight people were injured in one of the latest Russian missiles strikes in Kharkiv. Two of the victims are in critical condition.
Meanwhile, in the west of the country, Ukrainian air defense units are firing back at multiple cruise missile attacks. “That is Russian revenge for the fact that the whole world supports us,” Khmelnitskyi Governor Serhiy Hamaliy said in a statement. He also reported a missile strike in the city, saying that part of Khmelnitsky was without power.
Ukrainian Air Force Command reported the destruction of five cruise missiles and five of seven Iranian Shahed kamikaze drones Russia launched from the coast of the Sea of Azov. The Russians also launched six Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles from a Russian frigate in the Black Sea.
The Ukrainian Air Force added that air defense units shot down 61 of 71 cruise missiles that Russia launched.
“The occupiers also launched a massive attack with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from the districts of Belgorod (Russia) and Tokmak (occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region),” the air force said in a statement. “Up to 35 anti-aircraft guided missiles (S-300) were launched in the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions, which cannot be destroyed in the air by means of air defense. Around 8:30 a.m. cruise missiles were launched from Tu-95 MS strategic bombers.”
This article has been updated.