Russian forces launched a new wave of attacks against critical Ukrainian infrastructure targets on Monday.
Air raid sirens were activated across most of the country. “During the day, Russia’s armed forces continued to strike with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons at military command facilities and Ukraine’s energy system. All designated objects were hit,” said Russia’s Defense Ministry.
At least four were killed in attacks on the capital city of Kyiv, according to local officials. Russian kamikaze drones reportedly targeted an office belonging to Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s electricity grid operator. Unconfirmed footage posted on social media appeared to show Ukrenergo’s central Kyiv building engulfed in flames. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said twenty-eight drones took part in the assault. Top Ukrainian officials claimed Iranian-made Shahed drones—rebranded by Russia as Geran-2 drones—were used in the attacks. Iran has consistently denied supplying Moscow with military drones for use in Ukraine.
Russian attacks were also reported on Monday in the far-western city of Lviv, the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, and the southern port hub of Odessa. Ukraine’s southern military command confirmed that an infrastructure facility in the Odessa region was hit by a Kh-59 missile launched from a Su-35 jet fighter, per Ukrainian media reporting.
Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal said the strikes caused blackouts in hundreds of settlements across Ukraine. “Five drone strikes were recorded in Kyiv. Energy facilities and a residential building were damaged,” he said. “All [government] services are working on fixing the consequences of the shelling and restoring electricity supply.” Ukrenergo said repairs are underway, urging locals to reduce their energy consumption in anticipation of continued outages.
“We Ukrainians will keep fighting for our freedom and for our independence. Everything that Putin is doing is genocide,” Klitschko told reporters, according to the Washington Post.
Moscow drastically escalated the scale and pace of its massed strikes on Ukraine on the heels of a bombing attack earlier this month against the Kerch bridge in Russian-annexed Crimea. The Crimea bridge bombing was promptly followed by an unprecedented barrage of attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure sites, framed by Russian president Vladimir Putin as an act of retaliation.
It is widely believed that the continued Russian strikes are intended to ramp up pressure on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure going into the winter months. Ukrainian officials have pressed their Western counterparts in recent weeks for air defense systems to mitigate the drone threat. Ukrainian defense minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Monday that Kyiv expects to receive its first National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS)—previously committed by Washington— “soon,” adding that Ukrainian troops are currently training on the system.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.