Russian missile barrage slams into cities across Ukraine

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Russia unleashed “a massive rocket attack” that hit critical infrastructure and residential buildings in 10 regions of Ukraine, the country’s president said Thursday, with officials reporting at least six deaths in the largest such nighttime attack in three weeks.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the barrage that came while many people slept and knocked out power in cities across the country was an attempt by Moscow “to intimidate Ukrainians again.”

“The occupiers can only terrorize civilians. That’s all they can do,” Zelenskyy said in an online statement.

The war has largely ground to a battlefield stalemate over the winter. The Kremlin’s forces started targeting Ukraine’s power supply last October in an apparent attempt to demoralize the civilian population and compel Kyiv to negotiate peace on Moscow’s terms. The attacks later became less frequent, with analysts speculating Russia may have been running low on ammunition. The last major bombardment took place on Feb. 16.

Overall, Russia launched 81 missiles and eight exploding Shahed drones Thursday, according to Ukraine’s chief commander of the armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Thirty-four cruise missiles were intercepted, as were four drones, he said.

The Russian defense ministry said the attacks were in retaliation for an alleged incursion into the Bryansk region of western Russia a week earlier by what Moscow claimed were Ukrainian saboteurs. Ukraine denied the claim and warned that Moscow could use the allegations to justify stepping up its own attacks.