Firefighters extinguish flames as police experts look for fragments of missiles at a crater in an industrial area of Kiev, Ukraine, on September 21, 2023, after Russian strikes overnight. (Photo by AFP)
Ukraine has warned that winter months will be "difficult" for the nation after Russia launched a massive missile barrage across the ex-Soviet republic.
On Thursday, Kiev alleged that Russian missile strikes targeted civilian infrastructure, claiming the lives of three in the south and wounding scores of others across the country.
"Most of the missiles were shot down, but only the majority, not all," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, calling on the West, the United States in particular, to provide Kiev with more anti-missile systems.
Kiev claims that Russiaís overnight strikes hit cities from Rivne in western Ukraine to Kherson in the south, the capital Kiev and cities in the center and northeast of the country.
The massive missile barrage came as Poland, which has so far been Ukraineís staunchest supporter in its war with Russia, said that Warsaw would no longer supply Ukraine with weapons, as it also summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over comments by Zelensky at the United Nations.
The development also comes as the war-hit country prepares for a third winter during Moscowís 19-month-long military operation against its neighbor and as Zelensky made his second wartime trip to Washington to seek more military aid.
Last winter many Ukrainians had to go without electricity and heating in freezing temperatures as Russian troops struck Kievís energy facilities.
"Difficult months are ahead: Russia will attack energy and critically important facilities," said Oleksiy Kuleba, the deputy head of Ukraineís presidential office.
Kiev also reported power cuts across Ukraine, in nearly 400 cities, towns and villages, as Russia allegedly targeted energy sites.
According to Ukraineís energy operator Ukrenergo, 398 settlements are now out of electricity as the attacks damaged energy sites across the country.
"There are partial power cuts in Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv region," it said in a statement, adding, "We should calm down, the volume of gas will be enough to last the next heating season."
However, it is too "too early" to tell if this was the beginning of a fresh Russian campaign against the countryís energy sites, Ukrenergo further said.