Russia unleashes a missile barrage on Ukraine, killing and wounding civilians

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces unleashed a barrage of missiles on regions across Ukraine early Tuesday, killing civilians and damaging infrastructure.

The barrage came just hours before top Russian military officials and their counterparts from Asia, the Middle East and Africa gathered outside Moscow for a security conference, where the fighting in Ukraine is expected to dominate the agenda. Moscow’s war in Ukraine is nearing the 18-month mark.

The Ukrainian air force said Russia fired a total of 28 cruise missiles at the country. Sixteen were intercepted, it said in a statement.

“Deliberate large-scale attacks on civilians. Solely for the sake of killing and psychological pressure,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on X, formerly known as Twitter. Podolyak added that the barrage was “an undeniable manifestation” of Russia’s “terrorist activity, legally documented by numerous destructions and victims.”

Six out of seven of the Russian-launched missiles hit the western region of Lviv, wounding 19 people, including a 10-year-old child, Lviv Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi reported. Forty buildings and houses were damaged in the region that borders Poland, including in the city of Lviv, and the power grid was also damaged.

In the neighboring region of Volyn, three people were killed by a Russian missile strike and three others were injured, according to Oleksii Kuleba, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office. In the western Ivano-Frankivsk region, missile debris hit a private house. In the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, two people were injured in the region’s capital.

Parts of the city of Smila in the central Cherkasy region were left without access to water after the Russian strikes. The attack damaged a medical facility as well as water and heat supply networks.

In one of the villages in the front-line Zaporizhzhia region, a missile struck a stadium at a school, damaging a building as well as residential houses and a kindergarten. Russian forces also hit a grocery warehouse in Kramatorsk, a city in the front-line Donetsk region in the east, killing one person and wounding another.

In Dnipro, the Meteor sports complex was damaged after a missile strike, according to Gov. Serhiy Lysak. The complex is the training base for the Ukrainian national swimming team.

“The rocket exploded 20 meters from my (hotel) room,” two-time European junior backstroke swimming champion Oleksandr Zheltiakov wrote on Instagram. He posted a picture of the shattered sports complex, saying “my lovely pool.”

The countrywide barrage came a day after Russian forces unleashed a wave of missile and drone strikes on Odesa a non-front-line region in the country’s southwest.

The Kremlin’s forces have recently pummeled Odesa, hitting facilities that transport Ukraine’s crucial grain exports and also wrecking cherished Ukrainian historical sites. The repeated attacks on Odesa follow Moscow’s decision to break off a landmark agreement that had allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and help reduce the threat of hunger.

In Russia on Tuesday, top Russian military officials and their counterparts from Belarus, China, India, Middle Eastern and African nations gathered outside Moscow for a security conference.

Addressing the conference in a pre-recorded video statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again accused the West of fueling the conflict “by pumping billions of dollars” into Kyiv and “supplying it with equipment, weapons, ammunition, sending their military advisers and mercenaries.” “Everything is being done to ignite the conflict even more, to draw other states into it,” Putin said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sought to downplay the significance of the western support for Ukraine, saying that despite all that support, Kyiv’s forces “fail to achieve results on the battlefield.”

On Thursday, Sweden announced a 3.4 billion-kronor ($314 million) aid package consisting of ammunition for equipment from previous Swedish support packages, primarily for the armored combat vehicle 90, and spare parts for combat vehicles, tanks and the Archer artillery system. Defense minister Pål Jonsson said that “Ukrainians have signaled to us that they are in great need of new support packages; above all ammunition and spare parts.”

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Litvinova reported from Tallinn, Estonia.

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