By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
At least 19 are dead and hundreds of cities are without electricity after several Russian missile strikes hit the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia last week.
The attack came in response to a strike outside Kerch on the Crimea Bridge on Oct. 8, which connects the Russian mainland to Crimea. Crimea was annexed by Moscow in 2014, and the $3.7 billion bridge is vital to the transportation of military resources, as well as fuel and basic needs for civilians. Putin condemned the attack the following day, declaring it a “terrorist attack” by Ukranian special services.
The same day, into the morning of Oct. 10, several missiles were fired into the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, targeting private homes and apartment buildings. Officials say that the blast killed at least 19 and at least 40 more were hospitalized. On Wednesday, Russia deployed drone and missile strikes to infrastructure sites in Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia respectively, which has delayed the efforts of Ukrainian officials to rebuild water and energy sources.
Loyalists to Vladimir Putin praised his response to the Crimea Bridge attack. Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian overseas news source RT, said that this was the perfect time for Russia to show their strength. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head to Putin’s security advisory council, said the “goal of our future actions, in my view, should be the complete dismantling of the political regime of Ukraine.”
Contrarily, several military strategists in the West have condemned this attack for deliberately hitting civilian targets and deemed the attack careless.
“Russia lacks the missiles to mount attacks of this sort often, as it is running out of stocks and the Ukrainians are claiming a high success rate in intercepting many of those already used,” Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London, wrote.
Ukraine officials said that Russia fired 111 missiles over the course of Monday and Tuesday, and that they successfully shot down 63 of them.
The G7 held an emergency meeting last Tuesday with Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the Ukrainian president requested leaders urgently provide advanced weaponry to help create an “air shield” for Ukraine. On Friday, President Biden pledged a new military package to Ukraine estimated to be approximately $725 million, in addition to the $625 million package he pledged earlier this month.
On Wednesday, the United Nations voted 143-5 to condemn Russia for its attempted annexation of more areas of Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, while speaking before the assembly prior to the vote, called on her colleagues to “send a clear message today, that the United Nations will not tolerate attempts at illegal annexation. We will never recognize it.”
Last month, Putin declared four regions of Ukraine as Russian territory, citing referendum votes from Russia-occupied areas for his claim.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the near-unanimous vote to condemn Moscow showed just how alone Putin was in his efforts.
“The world has never been more united in its repudiation of Russia’s war,” Blinken, to the State Department on Friday, said.