Zelensky Accuses Russia of Using Iran-Made Drones, Missiles in Mass Strikes Killing 10 People

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday accused Moscow of targeting the country’s energy infrastructure using Iran-made drones, following mass Russian retaliatory strikes on cities across Ukraine. In a social media address, Zelensky also accused Russia of wanting to “wipe us from the face of the Earth”.

In retaliation for an explosion that damaged a key bridge to Moscow-annexed Crimea, Russian forces on Monday launched a barrage of fatal bombardments across various Ukrainian cities killing at least 10 people. According to Ukraine’s national police service, at least 60 more people were hurt in the mass strikes.

Zelensky in an address to the nation early on Monday said the morning had been “difficult” and explained that Russian forces had two targets with its barrage of strikes.

“They want panic and chaos and they want to destroy our energy system,” he said, announcing that Russian bombs had targeted cities including Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia in the centre of the country and Lviv in the east.

“The second target is people,” the Ukrainian President said, accusing Moscow’s army of launching the strikes with the aim of “causing as much damage as possible”.

Zelensky added the country is facing “temporary power outages now, but there will never be an interruption in our confidence — our confidence in victory.”

In an earlier statement, the President urged nationals to stay indoors, and said, “Air raid sirens are not subsiding around Ukraine… Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded. Please do not leave the shelters.”

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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Using Iran-Made Drones

Ukraine also accused Moscow of using Iranian-made drones sent from neighbouring Belarus as part of multiple deadly strikes that Russian forces launched across Ukraine.

“The enemy used Iranian Shahed-136 UAVs in strikes launched from the territory of Belarus” and the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia, the Ukraine military said in a statement on Facebook, adding that nine drones were “destroyed”.

The Ukrainian military said Russian forces had fired more than 80 missiles on cities across the country.

Zelensky Speakes With Scholz, Macron, urged ‘tough’ response

Later in the day, Zelensky spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron to urge a tough response against Moscow after strikes rocked cities across his country.

Zelensky said in a series of tweets that with Scholz he had discussed “increasing pressure” on Russia and with Macron that he had talked about “strengthening of our air defense, the need for a tough European and international reaction, as well as increased pressure on the Russian Federation.”

Russia vows more ‘severe’ attacks 

“Let there be no doubt,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in televised comments addressed to his security council, “if attempts at terrorist attacks continue, the response from Russia will be severe.”

Putin’s predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, warned on social media that the strikes — which disrupted water and electricity services across Ukraine — were only “the first episode”.

“We were sleeping when we heard the first explosion. We woke up, went to check and then the second explosion came,” Ksenia Ryazantseva, a 39-year-old language teacher, told AFP.

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“We saw the smoke, then the cars, and then we realised we didn’t have a window anymore,” she added.

“There’s no military target or anything like that here. They’re just killing civilians”.

India Asks Nationals To Avoid ‘Non-Essential’ Travel To Ukraine

In view of the current escalation of hostilities in Ukraine, India issued an advisory for its nationals living and travelling to the war-torn country, and advised them to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine.

“They must strictly follow the safety and security guidelines issued by the Ukrainian Government and local authorities. Indian nationals are requested to keep the Embassy informed about the status of their presence in Ukraine to enable the Embassy to reach out to them, where required,” the advisory added.

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