Ukraine Reports Wave of 51 Russian Cruise Missiles

People stand next to a destroyed residential house and a crater at the site of a Russian missile strike in Dnipropetrovsk Region, Ukraine, Jan. 8, 2024.

Russia resumed its winter bombardment strategy, pummeling several areas across Ukraine on Monday using its largest hypersonic and cruise missiles and killing at least four people while injuring 30 others.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces used precision sea-launched and air-launched long-range missiles, including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, to strike what it called “facilities of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex.”

Western officials and analysts had warned that Russia was stockpiling its cruise missiles to target mainly Ukraine’s defense industry this winter, as opposed to the country’s infrastructure last winter. But so far, Russian strikes have frequently hit civilian areas.

Ukraine’s air force said the country’s air defenses shot down all eight drones launched by Russia, but only 18 of the 51 Russian cruise missiles deployed in overnight attacks.

The Ukrainian air force said the targets of the missiles included “critical infrastructure facilities” as well as civilian and military industrial sites. It also noted that not all missiles that were not intercepted reached their targets.

Oleksiy Kuleba, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidency, said Russian missiles struck a shopping center and high-rise buildings in Kryvyi Rih, the south-central city that is the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Kuleba said one person was killed.

Rescuers evacuate the body of a local resident at the site where a house was destroyed in a Russian missile strike in the town of Zmiiv in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Jan. 8, 2024.

In the western region of Khmelnytskyi, officials said a Russian missile strike killed at least two people.

Oleg Synegubov, the regional governor of the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, said one person was killed in the city of Zmiiv.

The latest attacks came as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg prepared to hold a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council Wednesday to discuss Russia’s recent drone and missile attacks, which have included larger numbers of drones and missiles since the beginning of the year.

“Almost every night. Tonight again. With obligatory destruction of civilian infrastructure and deliberate killing of civilians,” Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Monday. “Only because Russia is willing and able to do so. Only because Russia has many long-range missiles.”

Zelenskyy expressed confidence Sunday that Russia could be defeated and warned that the war in Ukraine has shown that Europe should develop a joint weapons production with Ukraine and build a sufficient weapons arsenal for its defense.

“Two years of this war have proven that Europe needs its own sufficient arsenal for the defense of freedom. Its own capabilities to ensure defense. Its own potential that will allow all of Europe, or any part of it, to stand and preserve itself under any global situation,” he said.

Zelenskyy made the comments via a video link at a Stockholm defense conference, while Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed his country’s commitment to support Kyiv.

“Sweden’s military, political, and economic support for Ukraine remains the Swedish government’s main foreign policy task in the coming years,” he posted during the event on X, formerly Twitter, the messaging app.

Japan also pledged its support to Kyiv Sunday when Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa made an unannounced visit, becoming the first official foreign visitor in the Ukrainian capital in 2024.

"Japan is determined to continue to support Ukraine so that peace can return to Ukraine,” Kamikawa said through an interpreter at a joint news conference with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.

Kamikawa, who was forced into a bomb shelter by an air alert in Kyiv, condemned Russia’s missile and drone attacks on civilians, particularly on New Year’s Day, adding that her country would provide an additional $37 million to a NATO trust fund to help purchase drone-detection systems.

Some material for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.