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A barrage of Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine, knocking out power

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a residential building hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Updated November 15, 2022 at 12:03 PM ET

Russia unleashed a wave of missile strikes Tuesday at cities across Ukraine, hitting residential buildings and knocking out electricity in urban areas, in one of the most intense air assaults of the war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Russian barrage included 85 missiles in the space of a couple hours on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

"Does anyone seriously think that the Kremlin really wants peace?" Zelenskyy's top adviser, Andriy Yermak, said on Twitter. "It wants obedience. But at the end of the day, terrorists always lose."

The attacks come a day after the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution saying Russia should be held accountable for the war it's waging in Ukraine, and should be required to pay reparations. And just last Friday, Russia suffered a major military setback as it was forced to retreat from the strategically important southern city of Kherson.

Ukraine shot down some of the incoming missiles, but others reached their targets in the capital Kyiv, the northeastern city Kharkiv, the western city of Lviv, and the southern city of Odesa, among others.

In Kyiv, at least two residential buildings were hit and at least one person was killed, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Video posted by the mayor's office showed one apartment building in Kyiv engulfed in heavy flames and thick smoke.

Half of Kyiv loses power

The mayor also said about half of the capital was without power.

The northeastern city of Kharkiv was without power, according to officials there.

"The United States strongly condemns Russia's latest missile attacks against Ukraine," said U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who was attending the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

"The United States and our allies and partners will continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself, including air defense systems. We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Sullivan said.

Earlier Tuesday, Zelenskyy spoke to the G20 by video, saying his country is determined to recover all of its territory taken by Russia.

"In order to free our entire land, we will have to fight for a while longer," Zelenskyy said.

There are some international calls for peace talks to end war in Ukraine. But Zelenskyy noted that the two countries reached interim agreements after Russia first invaded in 2014.

Russia used this period of relative calm to regroup militarily, he said, adding that Ukraine would not fall for this again.

We will not allow Russia to wait us out and build up its forces," said Zelenskyy.

In his speech, the president repeatedly called the G20 the 'G19,' saying Russia should be excluded.

Russia turns to air power

With Russia's ground forces unable to make much headway in recent months, and being significantly pushed back in many instances, Russia is increasingly relying on airstrikes.

Russia launched a heavy bombing campaign against Ukraine's energy systems in October, damaging around 40% of the country's electricity system, according to Ukrainian officials.

Ukrainian workers have scrambled to repair the damaged power grid. However, many parts of the country, including the capital, were suffering power outages for hours every day, even before the latest attack.

The Russian airstrikes come as temperatures are rapidly falling and a long, cold winter looms.

Ukraine's limited air defenses have proven more effective than expected in protecting key government and military facilities.

However, the recent Russian campaign has targeted such a wide range of civilian and energy facilities that Ukraine has been unable to protect them all.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.