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Russia hits multiple cities across Ukraine, some with hypersonic missiles

People search the rubble of a house following a Russian strike in the village of Velyka Vilshanytsia, near the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, on Thursday.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn
/
AFP via Getty Images
People search the rubble of a house following a Russian strike in the village of Velyka Vilshanytsia, near the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, on Thursday.

KYIV, Ukraine — At least six people have died after a barrage of Russian missiles hit targets across Ukraine early Thursday, also knocking out power at Europe's largest atomic power station.

Most of the dead were in the western region which includes the city of Lviv, where a Russian missile hit a neighborhood.

"It's been a difficult night," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on his Telegram page, adding that Russians had returned to their "miserable tactics" to try to intimidate Ukrainians. "It's all they can do. But it won't help them. They can't avoid responsibility for everything they have done."

Also writing on Telegram, Ukraine's air force claimed it had shot down 34 of the 81 missiles Russia launched.

Ukraine's air defense is sophisticated and usually intercepts most Russian missiles. But the air force said at least six missiles launched today by Russia were Kinzhals — "daggers" — nuclear-capable missiles that travel at hypersonic speeds and can't be intercepted by Ukraine's air defense.

Yuriy Ignat, an air force spokesman, told Ukrainian TV that Russia had never fired this many Kinzhals in one attack.

The attacks also cut outside power lines at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Europe's largest nuclear power plant is located in southern Ukraine and has been occupied by Russian forces for nearly a year. Officials said the plant was currently running on power supplied by its diesel-powered generators. It's not the first time this has happened.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director-general of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was "astonished at the complacency" in preventing an accident at the plant.

"What are we doing to prevent this happening?" he told the agency's board of governors. "Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out."

Today's attacks also knocked out power in areas across Ukraine, including Kyiv.

Polina Lytvynova and Hanna Palamarenko contributed reporting.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joanna Kakissis is a foreign correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she reports poignant stories of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.