KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian airstrikes inflicted more damage on Ukraine on Thursday, with the latest barrage destroying energy infrastructure, apartment buildings and an industrial site.
At least four people have been killed and more than a dozen others injured in drone and missile strikes across the country, authorities said.
Separately, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the extension of a four-month agreement to ensure the safe delivery of grain, food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea just days before it expires.
António Guterres said in a statement that the United Nations is also “fully committed” to removing obstacles that have hindered the export of food and fertilizer from Russia, which is one of two agreements between the two countries. and Turkey in July. The agreements signed in Istanbul aim to help lower food and fertilizer prices and avert a global food crisis.
There was no immediate confirmation of the deal from Russia.
Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine early on Thursday as Moscow feared to unleash its latest full-scale missile attack as the war nears its nine-month milestone.
In Kyiv, the city’s military administration said air defenses shot down at least two cruise missiles and five Iranian-made explosive drones.
With Kremlin forces on the ground pushed back, Russia has increasingly resorted to airstrikes in recent weeks targeting energy infrastructure and other civilian targets in parts of Ukraine it does not hold.
Ukraine’s air defenses appear to have had much higher hit rates this week than in previous barrages last month, analysts said. The improvement resulted in part from air defense systems provided by the West.
But some missiles and drones still pass.
Russian strikes hit Dnipro and the Odessa region in southern Ukraine for the first time in weeks. Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, said a major fire broke out in Dnipro after strikes on the city hit an industrial target.
The attack injured at least 14 people, including a teenage girl, and all were being treated in city hospitals, Reznichenko said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Telegram which he said was one of the explosions at Dnipro. Video from a vehicle dash camera shows an explosion of fire engulfing a rainy road.
“This is another confirmation from Dnipro of how terrorists want peace,” Zelenskyy wrote, referring to Kremlin forces. “The peaceful city and the desire of people to live their usual life. Go to work, to their business. A rocket attack!
Elsewhere, a Russian strike that hit a residential building killed at least four people overnight in Vilnia in the Zaporizhzhia region. Rescuers were combing the rubble looking for other victims, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in Ukraine’s presidential office.
Critical infrastructure was also hit in the northeastern Kharkiv region of Izyum region, injuring three workers, the regional administration said.
Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov said in a Facebook post that one of his aides was among the injured and showed a photo of what he said was his coat pierced by shrapnel.
An infrastructure target was hit in the Odessa region, Governor Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram, warning of the threat of a “massive barrage of missiles on the entire territory of Ukraine”.
Officials in Poltava, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi and Rivne regions have urged residents to stay in bomb shelters.
Thursday’s explosions followed Tuesday’s huge barrage of Russian strikes. It was the largest attack to date against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which also resulted in a missile strike in Poland.
Russia is increasingly targeting Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches. The most recent barrage followed days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by one of its greatest military successes – last week’s recapture of the southern city of Kherson.
Head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak called the strikes on energy targets “naive tactics of cowardly losers” in a Telegram article on Thursday.
“Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult enemy strikes, which have not yielded the results the Russian cowards hoped for,” Yermak wrote, urging Ukrainians not to ignore the sirens of air raids.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called extending the grain deal a “key decision in the global fight against the food crisis”.
Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
John Leicester, The Associated Press