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Russia fires missiles at Ukraine's major cities

STORY: Russia fired scores of missiles into Ukraine early on Thursday, targeting Kyiv, the northeastern city of Kharkiv, and other cities in a massive aerial bombardment that knocked out power, Ukrainian authorities said.

In Kyiv, a team of emergency workers searched through the smouldering wreckage of a residential house destroyed by a blast.

Ukraine's military said it shot down 54 missiles out of 69 launched by Russia in an attack that began at 7am local time.

Air raid sirens rang out across the country and in Kyiv sounded for five hours - one of the longest alarms of the war.

Some residents rushed to take shelter in this metro station.

Russia has mounted numerous waves of air strikes in recent months on Ukrainian critical infrastructure, leaving millions without power and heat in freezing temperatures.

The latest blitz came hard on the heels of the Kremlin's rejection of a Ukrainian peace plan, insisting that Kyiv must accept Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

These homes were destroyed near Zaporizhzhia

"I went to sleep in my room, but wanted to watch the TV. So I fell asleep. I woke up to everything shaking, crumbling. I got up and screamed to my husband, 'where are you?' I ran barefoot on glass. He appeared and glass was falling on him."

Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying cities, towns, and the country's power, medical and other infrastructure.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what President Vladimir Putin calls a "special military operation" to demilitarize its neighbor.

Kyiv and its Western allies have denounced Russia's actions as an imperialist-style land grab.