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Russian missile strikes reported across Ukraine, targeting key infrastructure

Smoke arises after Russia's fresh attack on Ukraine, in the front line city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, February 9, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has launched a fresh wave of missile attacks on Ukraine, targeting the country's critical infrastructure and causing power outages and disruptions in train services, according to Ukrainian officials and media. 

At least 17 missiles hit the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia within one hour on Friday, local media reported, the heaviest attack since the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in February last year.

The operator of the national network Ukrenergo announced that several energy facilities were hit in the east, south, and west of the war-ravaged country, which caused a disruption in the electricity supply system in the region.

"The air alert will be long," Maksym Marchenko, the regional governor of the southern region of Odesa was quoted as saying. "Please do not ignore the air alert sirens, and go to the shelters."

At least three explosions shook the capital Kiev and its surroundings, with officials saying that air defense systems were activated. 

Missile debris damaged a private house, two cars and power lines in the capital's Holosiivskiy district, city officials were cited as saying. 

The mayor of Kiev urged residents to stay in shelters as the air alert continues, more than three hours after the attacks began.

The mayor of Kharkiv, the largest city in eastern Ukraine, confirmed that an infrastructure facility there was damaged and warned of possible power outages.

Critical infrastructure was also hit in Khmelnitskyi in western Ukraine and the Dnipropetrovsk region in the center of the country, regional officials said.

Air defenses shot down five of seven drones and five of six Kaliber missiles fired at Ukraine, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said.

The air force also announced that 35 S-300 missiles were launched in the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions and that the Ukrainian air defense was unable to shoot down these types of missiles.

Also, following widespread attacks on infrastructure, an emergency power cut has been ordered across the country.

After fresh Russian missile and drone attacks on Friday, a senior Ukrainian official once again called on Western allies to provide Kiev with long-range missiles and fighter jets.

"Russia has been striking at Ukrainian cities all night & morning," presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. "Enough talk & political hesitation. Only fast key decisions: long-range missiles, fighter jets, operational supplies logistics for Ukraine."

The Russian defense ministry has so far not commented on the latest strikes.

Macron: Impossible to send Ukraine jets in ‘coming weeks’

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, who had previously promised Zelensky's government to continue his full support to Kiev to counter Russia, warned on Friday that even if Ukraine's European allies decided to send fighter jets to Kiev, they cannot be sent in “the coming weeks".

"I'm not ruling anything out ... but that doesn't correspond to today's requirements," Macron said after an EU summit in Brussels attended by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Macron and other EU leaders hailed Zelensky as a hero in Brussels and vowed to stand by Ukraine to win against Russia — but they were cautious about sending fighter jets.

"It is essential the allies favor the most useful equipment" and "the fastest", Macron argued, citing the Caesar guns and the MAMBA medium-range surface-to-air defense system supplied by France.

Ukraine's allies are concerned that the deployment of advanced Western fighter jets will further escalate tensions from Moscow and risk an open conflict between NATO and Russia.

In response to Zelensky's European tour for gathering more arms, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it is Ukrainian people who would suffer more if the UK or other Western countries supply fighter jets to Kiev.

Peskov also warned the line between indirect and direct Western involvement in the war is disappearing. Such actions "lead to an escalation of tension, prolong the conflict and make the conflict more and more painful for Ukraine," the Kremlin spokesman warned.

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