The Russian targets are now all too familiar: energy infrastructure in cities across Ukraine, including in places away from the frontline. This, officials here say, is part of a strategy to destroy critical facilities ahead of winter and demoralise Ukrainians, who will probably have to endure power cuts in a country where temperatures can drop to -20C.
Russia’s airstrikes, using missiles and Iranian-made kamikaze attack drones, have destroyed a third of the Ukrainian electricity infrastructure, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Cities and towns are already experiencing rolling blackouts, and residents have been urged to reduce their consumption.
“Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia fights civilians,” Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said this morning, echoing a view shared by many Ukrainians. “Russia does this because it still has the missiles and the will to kill Ukrainians.”
Ukraine says it needs more air defence capabilities to defend its cities from what it has described as Russian “terrorism”. Germany has already sent equipment, and the UK and the US have announced they will do so.
Russian forces have often fired dozens of missiles and drones almost simultaneously, in an attempt to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defence. Kyiv, however, has been incredibly successful in shooting most of them down.
Ukraine reports downing 44 Russian cruise missiles
After Russia launched a missile attack on Ukraine this morning, Ukrainian air defences managed to shoot down 44 out of the 50 cruise missiles, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.
In a post on telegram, they wrote: “At 0700 [0400 GMT] on 31 October, Russia launched several waves of missile attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.”
Eighteen cruise missiles were shot down by air defence forces of the Operational Command Centre, 12 by the Operational Command South, nine by the Operational Command East and five by the Operational Command West, the Air Force added.__Courtesy BBC.com