Russia strikes Ukraine in biggest attack in weeks

STORY: Smouldering rubble, destroyed buildings and air raid siren.

This is Kyiv on Thursday (21 September) after Russia launched its biggest missile attack in weeks across Ukraine.

In the capital city, Oksana describes the moment of the blast.

“The explosion woke me up. At first there was a red glare outside the window and then there was no window, and I was lying covered in broken glass. I heard people screaming and crying and I rushed outside. Then I went and found the cat. Thank God he is alive.”

The strikes also damaged energy facilities and, with winter approaching, officials say the attack appears to be the start of a new air campaign against the Ukrainian power grid.

Partial power cuts were reported in five Ukrainian regions and grid operator Ukrenergo says it was the first attack on power infrastructure in six months.

The country has been racing for months to repair infrastructure after attacks last winter damaged nearly half of its energy system and forced grid operators to impose regular rolling power cuts.

This year, Ukraine has better, Western-supplied air defenses, but still has the huge challenge of defending against attacks in such a big country.

According to Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Russia fired 43 cruise missiles at targets overnight.

Ukrainian air defenses shot down 36 of them.

In the capital seven people, including a girl aged nine, were injured.

Mayor Vitali Klitshko reported that missile debris fell in the city center and that an infrastructure facility and several non-residential buildings were damaged, causing a fire.

Injuries and deaths were also reported in blasts across Ukraine, from the city of Kherson to near the Polish border.

Russia has not commented on the new air strikes, carried out as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits the United States for talks following the U.N. General Assembly.