Ukraine Gas plant hit in latest Russian strikes

More strikes have been reported across Ukraine, days after one of Russia’s most intense bombardments of the war.

A gas production plant in the east and a missile factory in Dnipro were among the latest targets, officials say.

Parts of Ukraine have seen their first snowfall of the season, but many people cannot heat their homes as Russia continues to pound their power grid.

Moscow has looked to justify its recent strikes by accusing Kyiv of “unwillingness” to negotiate.

Its recent long-range attacks follow a series of setbacks on the battlefield during the months-long war.

One of Ukraine’s largest cities, Dnipro, was among those targeted early on Thursday. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the Pivdenmash factory – which produces missiles – had come under attack.

Another official said 14 people, including a teenager, had been taken to hospital after the city was shelled.

Elsewhere in the same region, 70 shells were said to have landed around the city of Nikopol, damaging infrastructure and leaving thousands of homes without power and water.

Meanwhile, state-owned energy firm Naftogaz said its gas-producing facilities in the east of the country had been subjected to a “massive attack”.

In its own nationwide update, the president’s office said four people died as a result of an overnight strike on residential buildings in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Further strikes on infrastructure – as well as civilian injuries – were logged by officials in the Odesa and Kharkiv regions.

The capital, Kyiv, was just one place where air raid sirens sounded. At about 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT), mobile phones started pinging with official warnings of a new missile attack across Ukraine.

Local air defences swung into action and military authorities reported that four cruise missiles and five Iranian-made drones had been shot down.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia did not want peace, but instead was bringing his compatriots “only as much pain and suffering as possible”.

The Kremlin hit back, accusing Ukraine, which it invaded in February, of refusing to negotiate. It said recent strikes – and the ensuing blackouts – were the consequence.

Ukrainians are taking air raid alerts seriously after another wide-ranging assault on Tuesday.

Dozens of long-range missiles pounded Ukraine that day, in what was believed to be the most intense barrage since the start of the war.

Late on Tuesday evening, fears were raised of a dangerous escalation in the war when one rocket landed outside Ukraine, killing two people in a village in Poland near the shared border.

Although President Zelensky was at first insistent that this had been fired by Russia, Kyiv’s allies said it instead appeared to have come from Ukrainian air defences.

However, the head of the Nato military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said Moscow was ultimately to blame for starting the war in the first place.

Many missiles that were fired by Russia on Tuesday were intercepted – but those that did manage to strike infrastructure targets had the effect of further depleting Ukraine’s power reserves.

This has been a recent Russian tactic following setbacks on the battlefield, and its impact is starting to be felt more acutely.

Residents of Kyiv woke up to a blanket of snow on Thursday morning. Emergency power shutdowns have meant that many people do not have heating in their homes.

America’s top general has warned that Kyiv’s chances in the short term of winning the war by taking back all Russian-occupied land are “not high, militarily”.

Gen Mark Milley acknowledged, however, that there could be a “political solution” in which Russia made a decision to withdraw – saying the invading power was “on its back”.

In recent days, there has been optimism on the Ukrainian side following the recapture of the southern city of Kherson.

Reports have now emerged of civilians being tortured during the Russian occupation there. Russia has repeatedly denied committing atrocities during the conflict.

In other developments, the Ukrainian government has said a deal that allows it to export grain by ships on the Black Sea has been extended for another 120 days.

The agreement, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey, has allowed millions of tonnes of produce to be shipped out of Ukraine in recent months – easing worries about global food security.

Before it was implemented in July, Russia had been blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. It confirmed on Thursday that the deal would be continued “without changes”.

bbc.com