Russian missiles pounded Ukraine on Thursday, killing four people, as Moscow continued to pursue a campaign of attacks on cities and energy infrastructure after withdrawing its forces from the southern city of Kherson.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that the wave of missile attacks had left more than 10 million people without electricity, which is more than one-quarter of the current population.
Missiles hit buildings where three families were living in Vilniansk, a city east of the Dnieper River in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in the president’s office.
He said in a post on the Telegram messaging app that four people had died. The region has sustained some of the country’s heaviest shelling in recent weeks.
The attacks attest to a strategy adopted in response to Moscow’s battlefield setbacks. Russian forces have attempted to destroy Ukraine’s power network, exploiting the country’s reliance on energy to power businesses and heat homes as winter approaches.
In the latest example, a gas production facility in eastern Ukraine sustained a “massive attack” on Thursday, Naftogaz, a state oil and gas producer, said on its website.
Ukraine’s air defence systems shot down four cruise missiles and five drones in the Kyiv region, the city’s military administration said on Telegram.
Russian forces have struck civilian targets in Ukraine for months with missiles fired from ground, sea and air, but the attacks escalated sharply on Oct 10 in response to an explosion on the bridge that connects Russia to the Crimean peninsula.
The blast, for which the Kremlin blamed Ukraine, capped weeks of Russian losses in the south and northeast.
Last week’s decision by Russian forces to pull out of Kherson, the only provincial capital Moscow had seized in the war, was another serious reversal.
Daily attacks since then have only increased the sense of outrage felt by many Ukrainians.
Zelensky posted a dashboard camera video on Telegram on Thursday, shot from an unidentified vehicle in what he said was the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro.
The car drives along a tree-lined highway in the rain when an explosion erupts ahead. The vehicle brakes sharply as a hail of debris and leaves hit the windshield.
“Here is another confirmation from the Dnipro that terrorists want peace,” Zelensky said. “A peaceful city and the desire of people to live a normal life. Go to work, on business. Missile strike!”
Fourteen people were wounded in attacks in Dnipro on Thursday, officials said. The city’s mayor, Borys Filatov, posted on Telegram that a government employee had been injured.
“This is a coat and this is a fragment,” he said, posting a picture of a blue coat ripped by shrapnel. “The coat belongs to an employee of the city hall. My subordinate. Now she is being operated on.”
Ukraine’s air defense system destroyed six missiles fired from the air off the coast near Odesa, but one civilian was injured and a logistics facility was hit, the city council said on Telegram.
In the Dneprotrovsk region, 6,000 residents were without power after more than 70 shells hit Nikopol, a city on the banks of the Dnieper River, the head of regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko said on Telegram.