Kyiv, Ukraine — Russian airstrikes inflicted more damage on Ukraine on Thursday, with the latest barrage destroying energy infrastructure, apartment buildings and an industrial site.
At least four people have been killed and five others injured in drone and missile strikes across the country, authorities said.
Separately, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the extension of a four-month agreement to ensure the safe delivery of grain, food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea just days before it expires.
António Guterres says the United Nations is also “fully committed” to removing obstacles that have hampered the export of food and fertilizer from Russia, which is one of two agreements between the two countries and Turkey in July. The agreements signed in Istanbul aim to help lower food and fertilizer prices and avert a global food crisis.
In Kyiv, the city’s military administration said air defenses shot down at least two cruise missiles and five Iranian-made explosive drones.
With Kremlin forces on the ground pushed back, Russia has increasingly resorted in recent weeks to airstrikes targeting energy infrastructure in parts of Ukraine it does not hold.
Analysts said Ukraine’s air defenses appear to have recorded much higher hit rates this week than in previous barrages last month. The improvement resulted in part from air defense systems provided by the West.
But some missiles and drones still pass.
Russian strikes hit the Odessa region in southern Ukraine and the city of Dnipro for the first time in weeks on Thursday morning, and air raid sirens sounded across the country amid fears that Moscow triggers another large-scale missile attack.
An infrastructure target was hit in the Odessa region, Governor Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram, warning of the threat of a “massive barrage of missiles on the entire territory of Ukraine”.
Multiple explosions were also reported in Dnipro, where two infrastructure objects were damaged and at least one person was injured, according to the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
Air defense systems were operating in the central region of Kyiv, Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said. The Kyiv city administration said two missiles were shot down over the capital.
Officials in Poltava, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi and Rivne regions have urged residents to stay in bomb shelters amid the continued threat of missile fire.
Thursday’s blast follows Tuesday’s massive barrage of Russian strikes, the biggest attack yet on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure that also resulted in a missile strike in Poland.
Russia is increasingly resorting to targeting Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches as its battlefield losses mount. The most recent barrage followed days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by one of its greatest military successes – last week’s recapture of the southern city of Kherson.
Head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak called the strikes on energy targets a “naive tactic of cowardly losers” in a Telegram article on Thursday.
“Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult enemy strikes, which have not yielded the results the Russian cowards hoped for,” Yermak wrote, urging Ukrainians not to ignore the sirens of air raids.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he expects the renewal, for at least 120 days, of a UN-brokered deal with Turkey that allowed Ukraine to export more than 11 million metric tons of wheat and for Russia to ship its grain and fertilizers around the world. markets.
Zelenskyy tweeted Thursday that the deal “will be extended for 120 days.” He called it “a key decision in the global fight against the food crisis”.
There was no immediate confirmation from Russia. Turkish officials also did not confirm this, saying negotiations for the extension of the grain initiative were continuing and an announcement would be made at the end of the talks.
The United Nations has previously said it was “cautiously optimistic” about the renewal of the deal, which was due to expire on Saturday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has led to growing food shortages and soaring prices that have prevented millions of people, especially in developing countries, from buying enough to eat. to eat.
Russian ambassadors to the UN had complained last month that more needed to be done to facilitate its grain and fertilizer exports. Under separate agreements with Russia and Ukraine brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, the deal will be extended for another 120 days when it expires on November 19, unless Moscow or Kyiv object.
Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.
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