President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia intentionally timed a wave of strikes on Ukraine early on October 10 to inflict the greatest possible civilian losses and had also targeted the country's energy infrastructure, including using Iranian-made drones.
Zelenskiy said there were dead and wounded in the series of blasts that rocked cities across Ukraine in what appeared to be revenge strikes after Moscow blamed an explosion on the bridge linking Russia with illegally annexed Crimea on Ukrainian "terrorists."
Volodomyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine
"Dozens of missiles and Iranian Shaheds (drones). They have two targets. Energy facilities throughout the country... They want to panic and chaos, they want to destroy our energy system," Zelenskiy said. "The second target is people. Such a time and such targets were specially chosen to cause as much damage as possible."
Rostyslav Smirnov, an adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, said at least eight people were killed and 24 were wounded in just one of the strikes on Kyiv, which was shaken by a wave of explosions.
"They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the Earth...destroy our people who are sleeping at home in (the city of) Zaporizhzhya. Kill people who go to work in Dnipro and Kyiv," Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app.
"The air raid sirens do not subside throughout Ukraine. Missiles are hitting. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded."
Reports of blasts also came from other Ukrainian cities -- Dnipro, Lviv, and Ternopil -- according to Ukrainian media.
The western city of Lviv was hit with electricity and hot water cuts after bombardments that targeted critical infrastructure, including energy facilities, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy said.
"Due to the lack of electricity, the operation of the city's thermal power plants has been temporarily suspended. Therefore hot water is not provided at the moment," Sadovyi said on social media, adding that "part of the city was without electricity".
The commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, said on Twitter that Russia used drones to launch a total of 75 rockets on Ukraine, more than half of which were destroyed by Ukrainian air defense.
"The terrorist country carried out missile and air strikes on [our] territory, using attack UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). This morning, 75 rockets were launched, 41 of them were neutralized by our air defense," Zaluzhniy said adding that the attack was still ongoing and urging people to remain in shelters.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry said it would seek revenge for the strikes.
Defense Ministry, Ukraine
In the capital, the blasts appeared to be targeting more central parts compared with Russian strikes on the city earlier in the war.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said missiles hit "critical infrastructure" in the city.
In a first international reaction, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called Russia's firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine "unacceptable."
Earlier, Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on October 9 that Russia's attacks on civilian targets in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya, in which 14 people were killed and scores were wounded last week, constituted an act of "terrorism at the state level," which proved that it is impossible to negotiate with Russia.
The strikes across Ukraine came after Russian President Vladimir Putin himself blamed Ukrainian intelligence, without providing any evidence, for the recent attack on the 18-kilometer-long bridge linking Moscow-annexed Crimea with mainland Russia, calling it an "act of terrorism."
Russian forces also shelled the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv overnight, launching 10 S-300 missiles, said the head of Mykolayiv's regional military administration, Vitaliy Kim.
However, Kim wrote in telegram that "according to preliminary data, there were no victims."
Ukrainian forces have continued to make gains in a weeks-long counteroffensive in the south and northeast that has led Russian forces to retreat in many areas.
Natalya Humenyuk, Spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command
Britain's Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update on October 10 that "Ukrainian forces "continue to place pressure on Russian forces both in the northeast and in Kherson Oblast in the south."
However, British intelligence said that Moscow continues to prioritize its operations in eastern Ukraine, mainly around Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, where Russian forces were coming closer to breaking into the city, which has sustained very extensive damage from bombardment.
Russian losses have continued after Moscow announced last month that it was annexing the Ukrainian regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk partially held by Russian forces.
On October 8, Russia-imposed authorities in the Kherson region said they were facing “a difficult period” and authorized a partial evacuation in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
After what Russian officials called a truck bombing took out one lane of the highway section of the Crimea Bridge and damaged the rail section, Moscow made changes to the command of its war effort in Ukraine and the security of key infrastructure in Crimea, with Putin putting the FSB -- the successor to the Soviet-era KGB -- in charge of the effort.
Putin is due to chair a meeting with his Security Council in Moscow on October 10. (KB/RFE-RL)