The missile and drone attacks killed at least 16 people and damaged critical industrial and military infrastructure, part of a wintertime campaign that Ukraine had been dreading.
Russia targeted Ukrainian cities with more than 150 missiles and drones on Friday morning, killing several people, injuring dozens of others and damaging critical infrastructure in what Ukrainian officials said was one of the largest air assaults of the war.
“This is the biggest attack since the counting began,” Yurii Ihnat, a Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, said in a brief telephone interview, adding that the military did not track air assaults in the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.
For several hours on Friday, missiles, drones and debris slammed into factories, hospitals and schools in cities across Ukraine, from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the east, straining the country’s air defenses and sending people scrambling for shelter. At least 16 people were killed, and nearly 100 were wounded, according to Ukraine’s prosecutor general.
Although the level of destruction countrywide has yet to come into full focus, the scale of the Russian strikes appeared to have overwhelmed Ukraine’s air defenses. The Ukrainian military said that it had shot down 114 missiles and drones, out of a total of 158.