Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Ukrainians react to Russian missile barrage: ‘We won’t break’

by Asami TerajimaOctober 10, 2022 11:36 pm
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Ukrainians react to Russian missile barrage: ‘We won’t break’Medics bandage the head of an injured civilian after several explosions rocked the Shevchenkivskyi district in Kyiv on Oct. 10, 2022. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Cable welder Dmytro Mykhalchuk and his four colleagues ran out the door gasping for air immediately after a Russian missile hit their office building in Dnipro.

"The scariest thing was getting through the dark, ruined corridor, hoping there is a way out," the 36-year-old told the Kyiv Independent. 

Using phones to light the dark corridor, the five rushed out of their room on the first floor. Mykhalchuk said "it was dark with smoke" and they couldn't breathe. 

They escaped through the back door, but "the main entrance was completely destroyed, with bricks and fragments everywhere," he said. 

While running back home, Mykhalchuk said he saw a public bus destroyed by the explosion. Later, Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov said one of the missiles hit near the bus with civilians inside, but all of them survived.

A regional military administration spokeswoman told the Kyiv Independent that at least four were killed and 19 wounded in Dnipro as of 6 p.m. There were 10 Russian missiles fired at the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, five of which were downed by Ukraine's air forces.  

The spokeswoman declined to comment on the casualty number or the damage at Mykhalchuk's Ukrtelecom telecommunications building since the state monopoly is considered part of the critical infrastructure.

Dnipro was one of the many Ukrainian cities hit by Russian cruise missiles and kamikaze drones on Oct. 10. Russia attacked Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Kremenchuk, Kryvyi Rih, and Ternopil, with at least 84 strikes targeting residential areas all over Ukraine.

Russia's bombings came during Monday rush hour, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 80 others across Ukraine as of the latest figure.

Hiding underground

For the first time in nearly seven months, thousands of Kyiv residents sought shelter in underground metro stations to stay safe during Russian bombardment.

Soon videos of school-aged girls singing Ukrainian folk songs at the capital's underground station while taking shelter, went viral online. 

Kyiv resident Anton Paliuta, 26, who filmed the video, said it comforted him to hear Ukrainian songs in difficult times.  

The trauma of war is still fresh in mind for Paliuta, who barely fled Russian occupation in the village of Makariv, Kyiv Oblast, back in March. 

Paliuta and his girlfriend hid in the basement under Russian shelling for more than a week until they decided to escape despite the heavy risk.

Packed inside the metro station for three hours, Paliuta said that women and children were crying and panicking. But as soon as the girls began to sing, people started clapping, and some even sang along, he added. 

Nikita Ovchinnikov's Kyiv underground experience was different. Ovchinnikov and more than 100 residents of his residential building went to hide inside the parking lot and stood there for hours, wrapped in blankets.

He said that people were trying to reach their relatives and friends to ensure they were safe, but that became difficult when the internet occasionally cut off. 

He comforted his mother while keeping in touch with his grandparents in the city of Dnipro, who were also under attack.

Mass electricity outages

The western regional capital Lviv, regarded as a safe haven since the start of the full-scale invasion, also suffered one of its worst-ever attacks. 

Russian missile strikes had temporarily cut off 90% of Lviv from electricity, Lviv Deputy Mayor Andrii Moskalenko said hours after the blasts were heard in the city. He added there were problems with cell services. 

Lviv resident Tanya Guligas, 29, said she could briefly access the internet and mobile network nearly five hours after the attack. She told the Kyiv Independent that "there is stress and anxiety in Lviv, but there is no panic." 

According to local authorities, critical infrastructure facilities in Lviv Oblast came under attack. 

The central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih also faced a mass power outage, leaving 80,000 people without electricity, according to Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Governor Valentyn Reznichenko. 

Two Kryvyi Rih residents told the Kyiv Independent that locals were bracing for further bad news, and many stores don't have candles or bottled water anymore. 

Ukrainian officials accused Russia of targeting energy supplies across the country, with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal saying that the wave of attacks damaged 11 critical infrastructure sites in eight Ukraine regions.

"The main goal of these war criminals is to sow panic, scare Ukrainians and leave them without electricity and heat," Shmyhal said.

Zaporizhzhia terror

Zaporizhzhia, under constant bombardment, was hit with seven Russian missiles on Oct. 10.

Governor Oleksandr Starukh said that the overnight strikes killed one person and wounded five others, damaging "high-voltage power grids." 

A kindergarten was also attacked in the city. 

Oleh Panchenko, who coordinates a humanitarian organization, said the attack occurred around 2 a.m., but he woke up earlier, sensing something terrible was going to happen. 

As soon as the curfew was lifted at 5 a.m., he headed to the site of the attack only to find out that his friend's mother was killed in the latest strike. The elderly woman lived in a residential building that Russia destroyed.

By the time Panchenko left the crime scene, rescuers had not been able to find the woman's body yet. 

Moscow's largest-scale coordinated attack comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of blowing up the Crimean Bridge.

Putin claimed that Ukrainian intelligence was behind the Oct. 8 explosion that damaged the strategic bridge that connects Russia with the occupied Crimea peninsula. 

On Oct. 10, Putin addressed the nation, boasting of the "massive strikes" in Ukraine. Russia's defense ministry claimed that "all the targets were hit."

Of at least 84 missiles Russia had fired on Ukraine, nearly half of them were downed by the air force, Ukraine's General Staff reported, while 13 out of 24 drones were also shut down. 

Western leaders slammed Moscow for its latest barrage of attacks, with U.S. President Joe Biden calling it another "utter brutality of Putin's illegal war on the Ukrainian people."

Condemning the strikes, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "the whole world once again saw the true face of a terrorist state that is killing our people." 

"Ukraine cannot be intimidated," Zelensky said in his evening address, promising more battlefield successes. 

Asami Terajima
Asami Terajima
National reporter

Asami Terajima is a national reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She previously worked as a business reporter for the Kyiv Post focusing on international trade, infrastructure, investment and energy.

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