Taoiseach Micheál Martin condemns Russia over rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities – ‘Nothing less than war crimes’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a series of strikes took place across Ukraine Monday in retaliation for Ukraine’s attack on the Kerch Bridge to Crimea and other attacks in Russia, which he described as “terrorist” actions.

Utin said the Russian military has used precision weapons from the air, sea and ground to attack key energy and military command facilities.

He warned that if Ukraine continues to carry out “terrorist attacks” on Russia, Moscow will react “hard and proportionate to the scale of the threats”.

The intense, hour-long attack marked a sudden military escalation by Moscow. It came a day after Putin described Saturday’s explosion on the giant bridge linking Russia with the annexed territory of Crimea as an “act of terrorism” directed by Ukrainian special services.

The rocket attacks on Ukraine were the largest and most widespread Russian attacks in months. Putin, whose partial mobilization order earlier this month sparked an exodus of hundreds of thousands of fighting-age men from Russia, came close to imposing martial law or launching a counter-terrorism operation, as many had expected.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday’s attacks against Ukraine hit all designated targets.

Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian military had launched “massive attacks on military command and communications facilities and Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.”

“The goals behind the strikes have been achieved, all intended facilities have been attacked,” he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin condemned the strikes.

“These premeditated acts of terrorism are nothing less than war crimes. We will continue our efforts to hold Russia accountable for these blatant violations of international law,” he said.

Rockets are falling in Kyiv, the most intense attacks on the capital since Russia gave up an attempt to take it in the first weeks of the war.

The body of a man in jeans lay on a street at a busy intersection, surrounded by burning cars, after the attack. A soldier cut through the clothing of a woman lying on the grass to treat her wounds. A huge crater was torn in the mud next to a playground in a central Kiev park.

Explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, and in Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine.

“They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth… to destroy our people sleeping at home in Zaporizhia. Killing people who go to work in Dnipro and Kyiv,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in the Telegram message app.

“The air raid sirens are not falling silent across Ukraine. Rockets are falling. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded.”

A witness later reported an explosion in Russia’s Belgorod region near the border.

A huge crater had been blasted into the intersection at one of Kiev’s busiest crossroads. Cars were destroyed, buildings damaged and rescue workers were on site. Two cars and a van near the crater were completely destroyed, blackened and littered with shrapnel.

Windows had been blown out of buildings at the main Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv. National Guard troops in full riot gear and carrying assault rifles were lined up in front of an education union building.

“The capital is under attack by Russian terrorists! The rockets hit objects in the city center (in the Shevchenkivskyi district) and in the Solomyanskyi district on social media.

“The central streets of Kyiv were blocked by law enforcement officers, emergency services are working.”

The strikes follow the blast that damaged the only bridge across the Kerch Strait to the Crimea peninsula, which Putin on Sunday described as an “act of terrorism aimed at destroying critical civilian infrastructure.”

“This was conceived, executed and ordered by the Ukrainian special services,” he said in a video on the Kremlin’s Telegram channel.

Ukraine has not taken responsibility for the explosion on the bridge, but it has celebrated it. Top Russian officials called for a quick response from the Kremlin ahead of a meeting of Putin’s Security Council on Monday.

The bridge is a key supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and a symbol of Russia’s control over Crimea, the peninsula that was declared annexed after its forces captured it in 2014.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said before the meeting that Russia should kill the “terrorists” responsible for the attack.

“Russia can only respond to this crime by directly killing terrorists, as is customary elsewhere in the world. That’s what Russian citizens expect,” he was quoted as saying by the state news agency Tass.

Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s investigative committee, said on Sunday a vehicle exploded on the bridge after driving through Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia and Russia’s Krasnodar region.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Putin’s only tactic is terror on peaceful Ukrainian cities, but he will not break Ukraine. That’s also his answer to all the pacifiers who want to talk to him about peace: Putin is a terrorist who talks to him about missiles.”

In southeastern Ukraine, overnight Russian shelling destroyed another apartment building in the city of Zaporizhia, regional governor Oleksandr Starukh said early Monday. At least one person died and five were injured in the attack, a city official said.

The dawn strikes were the third Russian rocket attack on apartment buildings in the city in four days. The city, which Russian troops never took, is the capital of one of four partially occupied regions Russia is said to have annexed this month.

Russia has suffered major setbacks on the battlefield since early September, when Ukrainian forces stormed through the front lines and retook areas in the north-east and south.

Putin responded to the losses by ordering the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists, announcing the annexation of occupied territories and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/nothing-short-of-war-crimes-taoiseach-condemns-russia-over-missile-strikes-on-ukrainian-cities-42053368.html Taoiseach Micheál Martin condemns Russia over rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities – ‘Nothing less than war crimes’

Fry Electronics Team

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