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Russia and Ukraine conduct heavy airstrikes as war nears 20th month

Sep 22, 2023

Kiev [Ukraine], September 22: Russia launched a new wave of heavy airstrikes on Ukraine early on Thursday morning, including on the capital Kiev, while Ukraine fired its own air barrage against Russian-controlled Crimea, authorities on both sides reported.
Russia also targeting the country's energy infrastructure for the first time in months, according to the local authorities.
There was an explosion in Kiev's south-eastern district of Darnytskyi and falling debris damaged residential buildings, Ukrainian media reported. According to Mayor VitaliKlitschko, seven people were injured. Images showed wounded people being brought to safety.
Damage was also reported from other districts in Kiev, as well as well as power outages.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, a total of 41 Russian cruise missiles were intercepted during the latest, massive attack. The rockets were launched by strategic bombers over Russia's Volga region, it said.
Moscow targeted the Ukrainian energy grid for the first time since last winter, hitting energy infrastructure in the western Ukrainian city of Rivne, leading to regional power cuts, regional governor VitalyKoval said.
Last winter, Russia tried to bring Ukraine to its knees by systematically bombing its power grid. Maintaining electricity, heating, gas and water supplies to the population proved extremely difficult for Kiev during the cold winter months.
Meanwhile, two people were killed in attacks in Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister IhorKlymenko.
In central Ukraine, a hotel was hit in Cherkasy, Klymenko said. Seven people were injured and 10 more brought to safety, he said. Attacks were also reported from Lviv in western Ukraine.
Meanwhile Ukraine's military launched a massive airstrike targeting the Russian airbase Saki on the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea overnight, according to Ukrainian media reports.
The attack was a joint operation by Ukraine's SBU intelligence service and the navy, reports said, citing SBU sources.
The Russian Defence Ministry in Moscow said 19 Ukrainian combat drones were shot down overnight over the Black Sea and Crimea. Ukraine said the plan was to use the drones to overwhelm air defences on the peninsula annexed illegally by Russia in 2014. Afterwards, Kiev fired on the military airfield with converted Neptune anti-ship missiles. Russian military bloggers gave a similar account of the overnight attack.
The SBU reported "serious damage" to Russian technology at the Saki airfield in western Crimea near Yevpatoriya, saying that Russian fighter-bombers were stationed there.
Saki also houses a training centre for the operators of Iranian-designed combat drones, according to the SBU.
Ukraine first began attacking Crimea in August last year, some five months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
In recent weeks, the Ukrainians have targeted Russian air defences on the peninsula several times. Ukraine has been fending off the full-scale Russian invasion since February 2022, aided by weapons and other aid from Western partners. But Kiev is calling for more and stronger hardware as it seeks to repel Russian forces in a counteroffensive. Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelensky was due to meet US President Joe Biden and Defense Minister Lloyd Austin in Washington later.
Source: Qatar Tribune