This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russia launched a massive wave of missile strikes at Ukrainian regions on January 8, killing at least four people, wounding 45, and causing damage to civilian infrastructure and economic facilities, Ukrainian officials and the military said, as an air raid alert was declared for most of the country, including the capital, Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia had launched 51 missiles, including four hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles and 24 Kh cruise missiles from war planes, including strategic bombers.
Numerous explosions were reported in the Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kryviy Rih, Khmelnitskiy, and Zaporizhzhya regions.
“This morning again, unfortunately, began with a massive rocket attack,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his evening video message, adding that the number of injured had increased to 45 and that emergency and rescue operations were still ongoing in the Donetsk, Kherson, and Khmelnitskiy regions.
Two people were killed in the Khmelnitskiy region, where at least six explosions that also caused damage to infrastructure facilities were reported on Telegram by the region’s state administration.
In Kryviy Rih, regional Governor Serhiy Lysak said at least one woman was killed by Russian missiles. Oleksandr Vilkul, the head of the Defense Council, said the city came under massive air attack.
Ihor Ratinov, head of the local council in a Kryviy Rih district, told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service that city services will continue to provide assistance to the people affected.
“People are already so toughened up, it seems to me that they don’t say anything anymore,” he said, noting that people were emotional because it’s below zero Celsius and they had no windows.
“But our people cannot be defeated. Our people are the best. Victory is ours!” he said.
A resident of Kryviy Rih identified only by her first name, Nina, described her emotions as shock because her children also live in the city, and she worried whether they were safe.
Local Telegram channels said a missile hit the building of the Sunny Gallery shopping center in Kryviy Rih, causing serious damage.
Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Synyehubov said a 63-year-old woman was killed in a missile strike in the region’s city of Zmiyiv.
Synyehubov said Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was struck by at least four missiles that damaged an industrial enterprise and an educational institution. Two people were wounded while two others were still under the rubble, Synyehubov said.
Governor Yuriy Malashko reported five explosions in the Zaporizhzhya region and said at least two people were wounded in the attacks, which also damaged residential areas.
In the city of Novomoskovsk in the Dnipropetrovsk region, a public transport minibus packed with passengers was overturned by a blast wave. Three administrative buildings, two gas stations, and a five-story residential building were damaged, Lysak said.
A total of 24 people including five children were wounded, all of whom were taken to the hospital in moderate condition, said Lysak.
Oleh Kiper, the governor of the southern Odesa region, reported that seven drones were shot down over the region, without causing any damage or injuries.
The Ukrainian military said its air defenses shot down a total of 18 cruise missiles and eight Iranian-made drones.
Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat explained on Ukrainian television that the lower-than-usual shoot-down rate was prompted by the higher number of Russian cruise missiles that are more difficult to destroy in the absence of enough advanced air-defense systems like the U.S.-made Patriot.
“They used a large number of ballistic missiles, and such targets can only be shot down by systems such as the Patriot,” Ihnat said.
Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said some 300 residents had been voluntarily evacuated from the city of Belgorod following strikes launched from Ukraine.
“About 300 residents of Belgorod who have decided to move are now in temporary accommodation centers in the Stary Oskol, Gubkin, and Korochansky districts [of Belgorod region],” Gladkov wrote on Telegram.
On December 30, regional officials in Belgorod said that Ukrainian strikes on the city killed 25 people. The Ukrainian attack came in response to a massive Russian missile attack on December 29 that killed dozens of Ukrainians.