Ukrainians sent a defiant message to Vladimir Putin today after Russia hit the country with nationwide missile strikes.
Social media networks were flooded with videos of resistance in the wake of the attacks, as people in bomb shelters and in the Kyiv subway network sung the national anthem and other patriotic anthems – even as bombs fell.
The footage came as Putin‘s military blitzed Ukraine with missile strikes this morning, hitting the capital Kyiv and several other cities and killing civilians as revenge for an explosion which crippled the Crimea Bridge on Saturday.
At least eight people were killed and 24 were injured in just one of the Kyiv strikes.
Summing up the mood in Ukraine, the country’s defence ministry tweeted: ‘So, russkies, you really think you can compensate for your impotence on the battlefield with missile strikes on peaceful cities? You just don’t get it do you – your terrorist strikes only make us stronger. We are coming after you.’
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Social media networks were flooded with videos of resistance in the wake of the attacks, as people in bomb shelters and in the Kyiv subway network sung the national anthem and other patriotic anthems. Pictured: People sing together in a Kyiv Metro station on Monday
Footage from a shelter shows children gathered around tables covered in school work singing the Ukrainian national anthem. It appears a make-shift classroom has been set up in the shelter to allow the children to keep learning while being safe from Putin’s missiles
Inna Sovsun, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, shared a video on Monday morning from a Metro station in Kyiv showing a crowd of people sitting on the steps.
Posting the video to her Twitter account, she wrote: ‘Metro station in Kyiv where I am with my son now. Very crowded, lots of kids. People are calm, no panic.’
As the camera panned around, the video showed the crowd of people taking shelter stretched all the way down a long tunnel. The same crowd were later shown in a second clip singing together.
Footage from another shelter showed children gathered around tables covered in school work, also singing the Ukrainian national anthem.
The anthem is known by its name ‘The glory and freedom of Ukraine has not yet perished’, or by its shortened name: ‘Ukraine has not yet perished’.
From the video, it appeared a make-shift classroom had been set up in the shelter to allow the children to keep learning while being safe from Putin’s missiles.
In yet another clip from a Metro station, a huge crowd stretching all the way down a tunnel can be seen taking shelter. As with the first station and the children, the crowd is heard singing beautifully in the clip – in defiance of Putin’s attacks.
The missiles hit the capital at around 8am on Monday morning, a busy time for the city as people commute to work, and children head in to school.
Blasts were reported in the city’s Shevchenko district, a large area in the centre of Kyiv that includes the historic old town as well as several government offices, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Pictured: Video shows more citizens in Kyiv taking shelter following several missile strikes
Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, posted a photo on Twitter showing that at least one explosion occurred near the main building of the Kyiv National University in central Kyiv – tallying with the video from the young woman.
After the first early morning strikes in Kyiv, more loud explosions were heard later in an intensification of Russia’s attack that could spell a major escalation in the war.
At least 83 rockets were fired at Ukraine, the military said, half of which were shot down but the other half of which slammed into cities across the country. This number was increased from an earlier figure of 75.
‘The terrorist country, Russia, has carried out massive missile and air strikes on the territory of Ukraine, also using attack drones.
‘In the morning, the aggressor launched 75 missiles. 41 of them were shot down by our air defence,’ General Valeriy Zaluzhny said on social media.
Air raid sirens sounded in every region of Ukraine, except Russia-annexed Crimea. The sirens lasted for four straight hours.
President Zelensky said a mixture of rockets and suicide drones had attacked the cities of Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine, northern Kharkiv and Sumy, central Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia, and even far-western Ternopil and Lviv.
Speaking on the streets of Kyiv even as the attacks continued, Zelensky said the Russians were targeting power stations and civilians aiming to ‘sow panic and chaos’. Russia ‘is trying to wipe us off the face of the earth’, he added, while vowing that such tactics would not succeed.
Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the strikes showed ‘the Kremlin’s terrorist inadequacy’ after a string of embarrassing battlefield defeats.
Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister, said Ukraine’s courage would never be broken and ‘that the only thing they demolish is the future of [Russia] – a future of a globally despised rogue terrorist state.’
KYIV: Cars burn on the streets of the Ukrainian capital this morning after multiple missiles struck the city – the first time in months that it has been hit, and as Putin plots his revenge for strikes on the Kerch Bridge
KYIV: A dead body lies in the streets after Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital for the first time in months, torching cars and blowing up a park in a residential area
KYIV: Firefighters extinguish a burning vehicle as a dead body lies on the street (bottom right) following Russian missile strikes that targeted civilian areas and power station
83 Russian missiles were launched at Ukraine this morning in combination with Iranian drones, striking power stations, water supplies and civilians across the country – killing eight and wounding 24 in Kyiv alone
Videos and pictures from the Ukrainian capital showed burning cars and bodies in the streets as officials said the rockets had hit close to a well-known memorial to a famous statesman, near a children’s play area in a park, and a pedestrian bridge. More footage showed an apartment block in Dnipro in flames.
Though Russia gave no immediate justification for the strikes, it is almost certainly intended as a display of might after a huge explosion crippled the Kerch Bridge.
Putin called the explosion on the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea a ‘terrorist act’ masterminded by Ukrainian special services.
The Russian despot is due to meet with his security cabinet today to plot his revenge amid demands from hardliners within the Russian elite that he declare full war and resort to nuclear weapons.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, denied on Sunday that the atomic option was on the table – but having already annexed occupied regions of Ukraine and mustered hundreds of thousands of men into the army, Putin is running out of options for how to escalate the war further. He has shown no sign of backing down.
Journalists in the center of Dnipro city saw the bodies of multiple people killed at an industrial site on the city’s outskirts. Windows in the area had been blown out and glass littered the street.
Ukrainian media also reported explosions in a number of other locations, including the western city of Lviv that has been a refuge for many people fleeing the fighting in the east, as well as Kharkiv, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr and Kropyvnytskyi.
Kharkiv was hit three times, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said. The strikes knocked out the electricity and water supply. Energy infrastructure was also hit in Lviv, Regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyi said.
The multiple strikes came a few hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to hold a meeting with his security council, as Moscow’s war in Ukraine approaches its eight-month milestone.
The Kremlin is reeling from humiliating battlefield setbacks in areas it is trying to annex amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent weeks.
A day earlier, Putin had called the attack on the Kerch Bridge to Crimea a terrorist act carried out by Ukrainian special services. In a meeting Sunday with the chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Putin said ‘there’s no doubt it was a terrorist act directed at the destruction of critically important civilian infrastructure.’
DNIPRO: Bodies lie covered in blankets after Russia missiles struck the city of Dnipro, in south-central Ukraine
ZAPORIZHZHIA: Rescuers attempt to extinguish the remains of an apartment building in southern Ukraine which was hit by a Russian missile overnight
LVIV: Smoke rises over the city in far-western Ukraine that has been largely spared the worst effects of the war after Putin unleashed a barrage of strikes in revenge for the Crimea bridge being hit
The Kerch Bridge is important to Russia strategically, as a military supply line to its forces in Ukraine, and symbolically, as an emblem of its claims on Crimea.
No one has claimed responsibility for damaging the 12-mile-long bridge, the longest in Europe.
Amid the onslaught, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on his Telegram account that Russia is ‘trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth.’
‘Please do not leave (bomb) shelters,’ he wrote. ‘Let’s hold on and be strong.’
Following the strikes on Kyiv, several residents were seen on the streets with blood on their clothes and hands. A young man wearing a blue jacket sat on the ground as a medic wrapped a bandage around his head.
A woman with bandages wrapped around her head had blood all over the front of her blouse. Several cars were also damaged or completely destroyed.