Russia unleashed a lethal barrage of strikes against multiple Ukrainian cities Monday, smashing civilian targets including downtown Kyiv where at least six people were killed amid burnt-out cars and shattered buildings that brought back into focus the grim reality of war after months of easing tensions in the capital.
Police said a total of at least 10 people were killed and around 60 others were wounded in the morning attacks across Ukraine. The country’s Emergency Service said nine people were killed. The conflicting numbers couldn’t immediately be reconciled.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24, said the strikes were in retaliation for what he called Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions — a reference to Ukraine’s attempts to repel Moscow’s invasion forces and cripple their supply lines.
The actions he referred to include an attack last weekend on a key bridge, prized by the Kremlin, between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Putin vowed a “tough” and “proportionate” response should Ukraine carry out further attacks that threaten Russia’s security.
“No one should have any doubts about it,” he said.