Vladimir Putin unleashed a barrage of missiles on Ukraine in the early hours of this morning, killing at least five people after the rockets struck residential buildings across the country.
More than 20 cruise missiles and two drones were fired at cities and towns across the country, blowing up people’s homes as they slept.
At least two cruise missiles smashed into a nine-storey residential building in the central town of Uman, killing at three people – including a 75-year-old woman – and wounding eight.
Missiles also rained down on the central city of Dnipro, with one striking a house where a 31-year-old mother and her two-year-old daughter were sleeping. They both died in the barbaric attack. Four others were wounded in the blitz.
Kyiv was also rocked by explosions in the first attack against the capital in nearly two months, with air raid sirens beginning at 4am. Ukraine’s air force managed to intercept 11 cruise missiles and two drones that had been launched at the city in a move that will have saved scores of lives.
Explosions were also reported after midnight in Kremenchuk and Poltava in central Ukraine as well as in Mykolaiv in the south.
Pictured: Fire and smoke rise up in the night sky after a residential building was hit by a Russian missile in the town of Uman, Cherkasy region, Ukraine
Pictured: A heavily damaged residential building hit by a Russian missile is set on fire, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Uman, Cherkasy region, Ukraine, on Friday
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack at an apartments’ buildings area in the town of Uman on Friday
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack at a residential building in Uman, central Ukraine, on Friday
In Uman, three people were killed as cruise missiles hit a nine-storey residential building.
One of the people killed was a 75-year-old woman who was in her apartment in a neighbouring building. She suffered internal bleeding from the shockwave of the blast, medics said.
Three body bags lay next to the building as smoke continued to billow hours after the attack.
Soldiers, civilians and emergency crews searched through the rubble outside for more victims, while residents dragged belongings out of the damaged building.
One woman, crying in shock and horror at what she had just witnessed, was taken away by rescue crews for help.
A haunting video shows a distraught Ukrainian woman with blood on her hands and face after the attack as she shows the wreckage of her flat.
She told how her children had narrowly escaped death in the terrifying bombardment.
A terrified Ukrainian woman surveys the damage and her own injuries as Russians bombarded the town of Uman
Three people have been killed, including women and children as a result of a Russian missile attack on Uman, central Ukraine, which was burning last night
A firefighter works at thee site of storage facilities hit by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine, on Friday
Rescuers work at the site of a residential building heavily damaged residential building hit by a Russian missile, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Uman, Cherkasy region, Ukraine, on Friday
Rescuers work at the site of a residential building heavily damaged residential building hit by a Russian missile, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Uman, on Friday
An emergency worker stands near dead bodies in plastic bags near the site of a heavily damaged residential building hit by a Russian missile, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Uman, on Friday
Pictured: Destroyed vehicles near a heavily damaged residential building hit by a Russian missile, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Uman, Cherkasy region, on Friday
Vladimir Putin unleashed a barrage of missiles on Ukraine in the early hours of this morning, killing at least five people after the rockets struck residential buildings across the country. Pictured: A map showing where the Russian missile strikes have hit across Ukraine
‘A missile hit our block of flats,’ she said, showing the damage. ‘We are all covered in blood. All windows were shattered. Children were sleeping here.
‘They are all alive. We are all covered in blood. I got so scared. I hate you, bloody [Russians], I hate you.’
The missiles were fired from aircraft operating in the Caspian Sea region, according to Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander in Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
Overall, he said Ukraine intercepted 21 of 23 Kh-101 and Kh-555 type cruise missiles launched, as well as the two drones.
Russia immediately claimed that the hits on residential buildings were from ‘cack-handed’ Ukrainian air defences.
Propagandist Vladimir Solovyov alleged: ‘In Uman, the valiant defenders laid down almost the entire entrance of a nine-story building while Russian missiles reached the [targeted] storage facilities without hindrance.’
The attacks come as Ukrainian forces are expected to soon launch an offensive with new military equipment, including tanks, from its Western allies after Russian forces made little headway in a winter offensive.
Russian forces have suffered setbacks throughout the conflict and have been trying for 10 months to punch their way into the shattered remains of Bakhmut, once a city of 70,000.
Russia sees Bakhmut as a key stepping stone to other cities in eastern Ukraine, now its major military objective.
Firefighters work to stem a fire at a heavily damaged apartment building in Uman, Cherkasy region, on Friday
The moment one of the missiles explodes after a new Russian bombardment
The Russian attacks came as NATO announced that its allies and partner countries have delivered more than 98 per cent of the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine during Russia’s invasion and war, strengthening Kyiv’s capabilities as it contemplates launching a counteroffensive.
Along with more than 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks and other equipment, Ukraine’s allies have sent ‘vast amounts of ammunition’ and trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian brigades, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
More than 30,000 troops are estimated to make up the new brigades. Some NATO partner countries, such as Sweden and Australia, have also provided armored vehicles.
‘This will put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory,’ Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a ‘long and meaningful’ phone call on Wednesday in their first known contact since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than a year ago.
Though Zelenskyy said he was encouraged by Wednesday’s call and Western officials welcomed Xi’s move, it didn’t appear to improve peace prospects.
Russia and Ukraine are far apart in their terms for peace, and Beijing – while looking to position itself as a global diplomatic power – has refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion. The Chinese government sees Russia as a diplomatic ally in opposing U.S. influence in global affairs, and Xi visited Moscow last month.