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Russian missiles hit downtown Kyiv and civilian targets in other Ukrainian cities on Monday as Vladimir Putin vowed a “harsh” response to this weekend’s blast that led to a collapse of a Russian-built bridge in Crimea.
Early on Monday, Russia fired cruise missiles at many Ukrainian cities, including the first missile strike on the capital Kyiv in months, after an explosion led to the collapse of the Kerch Bridge in Crimea, a bridge Russia built after it annexed Crimea and which Putin personally inaugurated.
The Kerch Bridge, which Russia has seen as a symbol of its annexation, has acted as a major supply route for Russian troops occupying southern Ukraine. The bridge has been a legitimate military target for Ukraine because it has been used to haul troops and weapons into Ukraine, Kyiv has said.
After accusing Ukraine of “terrorism” following the collapse of the bridge in Crimea, Putin ordered missile strikes on Ukrainian cities on Monday. At least eight people were killed in downtown Kyiv while commuting to work, in the first major attack on the Ukrainian capital after months of a relative return to normality. At least 24 other people were wounded, according to Ukrainian officials cited by the AP.
Russia also fired missiles on Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Sumy in eastern Ukraine, and at the western cities of Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, which had so far remained relatively calm and insulated from the war.
“Multiple Russian missile strikes across Ukraine. Putin’s only tactic is terror on peaceful Ukrainian cities, but he will not break Ukraine down. This is also his response to all appeasers who want to talk with him about peace: Putin is a terrorist who talks with missiles,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Monday.
The minister, on a visit to Africa, will return immediately to Ukraine and said he was “in constant contact with partners since early morning today to coordinate a resolute response to Russians attacks.”
The escalation of the war could lead to more sanctions on Russian exports, while Russia could also retaliate by cutting off all gas supply to Europe.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com