Several blasts hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv as well as other cities across the country including Odesa, Dnipro and Lviv on Monday.
At least 10 explosions were reported in Kyiv making the attack the most intense barrage on the city since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. The strikes came after Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine’s secret services for an attack on a key bridge link to Crimea.Police said a total of at least 10 people were killed and around 60 others were wounded in the morning attacks across Ukraine. The country’s Emergency Service said nine people were killed. The conflicting numbers couldn’t immediately be reconciled.The actions he referred to include an attack last weekend on a key bridge, prized by the Kremlin, between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Putin vowed a “tough” and “proportionate” response should Ukraine carry out further attacks that threaten Russia’s security. “No one should have any doubts about it,” he said.
Monday’s intense, hours-long attack by Russia marked a sudden military escalation in its assault on Ukraine. It came a day after Putin called the explosion Saturday on the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea a “terrorist act” masterminded by Ukrainian special services.Putin, speaking in a video call with members of Russia’s Security Council, said the Russian military launched “precision weapons” from the air, sea and ground to target key energy and military command facilities. And then this warning came from the Kremlin leader: there would be a harsh response if Ukraine continued to carry out what he called “terrorist attacks on Russian territory”.Saturday’s attack on the bridge linking Russia and Crimea was a blow to President Putin – the bridge is very much a symbol of his annexation of the Crimean pensinsula.
Meanwhile, there are fears of a potential further escalation of this conflict.The leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said he had ordered his troops to deploy with Russian forces near Ukraine. He claimed the combined Russia-Belarus force was a response to threats from Kyiv.