San Francisco Chronicle
Russia fires scores of missiles while ramping up winter offensive
KYIV, Ukraine — Russia targeted Ukraine’s already battered infrastructure with drones, rockets and cruise missiles Friday, raining fire on cities around the country as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrapped up a push in Europe for more, faster support from Kyiv’s allies.
Russia has been ramping up the pace of its winter offensive, Ukrainian officials say, pouring troops and equipment into eastern Ukraine to try to swallow up new territory as the anniversary of the war approaches and Kyiv waits for more powerful weapons from the West.
Military analysts have said that Russia has made small tactical gains over the past week — often at great cost — but as of Friday morning there was no evidence of a major breakthrough despite the heavy fighting.
The Ukrainian air force described Friday’s assault as a “massive attack” and said that it had involved 71 cruise missiles and seven Iranian-made drones. Ukraine said in a statement that it had shot down 61 of the cruise missiles and five of the drones.
Ukrainian officials maintained that two of the Russian missiles had crossed the airspace of Romania, a NATO country, even as Bucharest rejected the claim. Zelenskyy, who repeated the assertion, condemned the attacks and used the episode as an opportunity to rally his country’s allies.
“Their targets were civilians, civilian infrastructure,” Zelenskyy, who was traveling back to Ukraine after a stop in Poland, said in a video statement. He added: “This is terror that can and must be stopped — stopped by the world.”
The full extent of the damage of the strikes Friday was not immediately clear, but energy infrastructure was hit in six regions of the country, according to Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Galushchenko.
Over Kyiv, the capital, Ukrainian fighter jets raced across the sky to intercept inbound missiles, and air defense systems thundered. Ten missiles were shot down over the city, according to the mayor, Vitali Klitschko.