At least six dead after another massive salvo of Russian missiles in Ukraine

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At least six dead after another massive salvo of Russian missiles in Ukraine

Ukrainian emergency services Agence France-Presse Ukrainian rescuers transport the body of a man killed Thursday in a Russian strike in Lviv, a Ukrainian city yet very far from the front line.

Massive Russian strikes in Ukraine, the largest in weeks, killed at least six people on Thursday and knocked out power to part of the population, as well as the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

Russia has called the bombings, which it claims to have been carried out using new hypersonic Kinjal missiles, “retaliation” for an incursion into its territory on March 2 by Ukrainian “saboteurs”.

At the same time, the pro-Russian separatists of Transnistria, in Moldova, claimed to have foiled an attack that Kiev would have prepared against its leaders, raising fears of new tensions in this unstable territory located in the south-west of Ukraine.

< p>Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denounced Russian “wretched tactics” after bombings that hit nine regions of the country and its capital Kiev, and targeted energy infrastructure.

According to the Ukrainian military, anti-aircraft defense shot down 34 of 81 missiles launched by Moscow, and four Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones.

Since October, after several military setbacks, Russia has regularly bombarded key energy facilities in Ukraine with missiles and drones, plunging millions into darkness and cold.

These strikes were fewer in recent weeks. But on Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said missiles had targeted ten regions in the east, south and west, as well as Kiev, at dawn.

In the Lviv region, a shooting at a residential area killed at least five people, the governor said, while the governor of the Dnipro region told him that a 34-year-old man had been killed.

Russian artillery also shelled Kherson, killing two people at a transport stop and a third at a nearby store, local authorities said.

The mayor of Kharkiv, a major city in the northeast near from the Russian border, Igor Terekhov, announced that the whole city was deprived of electricity, water and heating.

“Russia is trying to completely destroy the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine, that's why we have to provide (it) with what to defend itself,” reacted the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, from Stockholm.

Risk of nuclear accident

The gigantic Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russian army in southern Ukraine, was also cut off Thursday from Ukrainian electricity network, after a Russian strike, announced the Ukrainian operator Energoatom.

“We are playing with fire and if we allow this situation to continue, one day our luck will turn,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi warned from Vienna. p>

According to Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator, Russian “missile attacks” led to the disconnection of the last line still connecting the plant to the grid, and emergency diesel generators were activated to ensure a minimum supply of security systems.

But the operator warned of a risk of a nuclear accident if the external power supply was not restored.

The Russian occupation administration confirmed the launch of these diesel generators, but said the measure was related to a “short circuit” on another power line, without specifying the cause.

In Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported several explosions in the south, then west of the city, where police say at least three people were injured.

On Prospekt Peremoguy, in the west of the capital, three cars parked near a high apartment building were charred, noted an AFP correspondent, and several others damaged.

“ There was a very strong explosion,” said Igor Yejov, 60, who evacuated the building with his wife. “When it happens very close to you, it's really a feeling of fear. »

The military administration claimed that 40% of users in the capital were deprived of heating. Preventive power cuts, according to the authorities, are also still in effect in some neighborhoods.

Power cuts have also been reported in the Odessa region.

Tensions in Transnistria

In Moldova, pro-Russian separatists in Transnistria assured Thursday that Ukraine had wanted to carry out an attack in the center of their capital, Tiraspol, to “eliminate their leaders and cause “a great number of casualties”.

Moldova and the West regularly accuse Moscow of using Transnistria to further destabilize neighboring Ukraine. EU in Stockholm, with their Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiï Reznikov, to negotiate a plan for the delivery of shells and ammunition to Kiev, which could be increased to two billion euros.

Furthermore, in the n eastern Ukraine, the battle for the symbolic city of Bakhmout continues to rage.

After announcing the day before the capture of the eastern part of the city, the head of the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Thursday that his fighters had conquered the small village of Doubovo-Vassylivka, north of Bakhmout. NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, adding however that “this does not reflect e not necessarily any turning point in the war.”