The Kremlin’s forces may have been driven back on nearly all fronts in Ukraine, and Kyiv may even be planning to launch an invasion of Crimea in the New Year, but on Thursday Moscow showed that the Russian bear hasn’t been entirely declawed. Explosions rattled villages and cities across Ukraine as Russia launched one of its largest missile strikes since the war began. Civilian infrastructure was damaged, and at least three people were killed.
The attacks came as Ukrainian authorities had been warning for days that Moscow could be preparing to launch an all-out assault on the nation’s power grid.
Much of Ukraine was left without power as its citizens prepare to ring in the New Year and celebrate Christmas, which on the Orthodox calendar falls on January 7.
“Russian terrorists have been saving one of the most massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full-scale invasion for the last days of the year. They dream that Ukrainians will celebrate the New Year in darkness and cold. But they cannot defeat the Ukrainian people,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said in a post on social media.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also called the actions of Moscow, “Senseless barbarism.”
Devastating Attacks Hit Ukraine
Video footage shared on social media also showed emergency workers digging through the smoldering wreckage of residential homes outside of the capital of Kyiv that were destroyed in Thursday’s strikes.
Ukraine’s military had said that it had shot down 54 out of the 69 missiles launched by Russia, but the remaining 15 had still taken their toll.
Moscow had reportedly launched air and sea-based cruise missiles, along with anti-aircraft missiles at energy infrastructure in the eastern, central, western, and southern regions. The attacks followed an overnight assault that was conducted using so-called “kamikaze” drones.
More than 18 residential buildings, along with 10 critical infrastructure installations were reported to have been destroyed in the latest air attacks.
Despite the carnage it has inflicted since it began its missile and drone attacks in October, Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, and instead has claimed that it is only striking legitimate military targets.
Ukrainian Calls for Western Aid
For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested that Western nations, including the United States, supply additional air defense systems to counter the Russian attacks. Just last week, Washington announced that it would provide a nearly $2 billion aid package that would include the Patriot Air Defense system.
Moscow has responded that such systems could escalate the conflict.
In contrast, Russian officials have said that the Patriot would be a legitimate target and that Kremlin forces would take all efforts to destroy those air-defense systems.
In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Zelensky’s call to drive Russia out of eastern Ukraine and Crimea with Western help, and making Moscow pay damages was “an illusion.”
While Russia is certainly losing on the frontlines, it still has the claws to launch a terror campaign against Ukraine’s civilian population.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.