On the morning of 16 December, air alerts were announced all across Ukraine at about 8 a.m. and canceled only 4-4.5 hours later. Russian troops launched 76 air- and sea-based missiles once again targeting primarily the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, and some 27 land-based S-300 air defense missiles in their secondary ground target attack role targeting front-line cities. Ukrainian air defenses reportedly shot down 60 missiles.
The Russian attack killed at least two, wounded at least 10 civilians in two regions, and damaged at least nine power-generating facilities causing power cuts in several regions.
The Russian missile strategic bombing campaign primarily targeting the Ukrainian energy infrastructure continues for many weeks now. Russia has managed to inflict significant damage to power generation and distribution facilities causing blackouts and power cuts across Ukraine. Nevertheless, this campaign doesn’t seem to have any impact on the Ukrainian military infrastructure or troops.
Air alert expanded all across Ukraine pic.twitter.com/Qz1lPPR6Q8
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) December 16, 2022
Air defenses destroyed most of incoming missiles
On 16 December 2022, the Russian troops launched another massive missile attack comprising 76 air- and sea-based missiles on Ukrainian facilities of critical infrastructure, and the fuel and energy sector, according to Ukraine’s Air Force Command. Air defense units of the Air Force’s commands Center, South, East, and West in cooperation with the air defense units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine, destroyed 60 of the missiles.
The Command noted that this time Russia used more launch locations than usual in previous attacks of this kind:
“A peculiarity of this attack was the launch of Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles not only from the Caspian Sea but also from Saratov Oblast, in the [air base] Engels area, where Tu-95MS strategic bombers and missile carriers are based. The occupiers launched sea-based cruise missiles from the Admiral Makarov frigate from the Black Sea. Several launches of Kh-22 cruise missiles were carried out from long-range Tu-22M3 bombers over the Sea of Azov, and four launches of Kh-59 and Kh-31P guided air missiles from tactical aircraft of the occupiers, presumably Su-35,” the Air Force Command wrote.
Additionally, during the attack, the Russians hit the front-line cities with some 27 anti-aircraft missiles of the S-300 air defense system, the Command reported.
Also, during the massive missile attack on Ukraine, the Russian Il-76 A-50U long-range radar detection aircraft and the MiG-31K fighter jet capable of carrying the Kinzhal missiles were observed in the skies of Belarus.
“According to preliminary data, this morning from the areas of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, the enemy fired 76 missiles, including 72 cruise missiles (Kh-101, Kalibr, Kh-22) and 4 guided air-to-surface missiles (Kh-59/Kh-31P) at Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said in an update posted on Facebook.
Deaths, injuries, and damage
One of the missiles hit a multi-storey residential house in the city of Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. According to the oblast administration head, Valentyn Reznichenko, two people died in the attack, and at least eight were injured including three children – a three-year-old boy and girl, and a seven-year-old girl.
“The Russian attack cut short three lives. A 64-year-old woman and a young married couple were killed. Their little son is still under the rubble. Thirteen people were injured, including four children – all of them were hospitalized. A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition,” Reznichenko wrote in his update on the situation as of 17:54.
Kyiv Oblast Administration Head reported that three people were injured in the Russian missile attack in Kyiv Oblast with one of them being in serious condition. Additionally, “a critical infrastructure object in Kyiv Oblast and nine detached houses in different districts of the region,” he wrote.
Kharkiv City Mayor Ihor Terekhov described the damage to Kharkiv’s energy infrastructure as “colossal.”
Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that the Russian missile attack inflicted damage on at least nine power generation facilities.
“Substations that transmit electricity were damaged, which led to a limitation in production, primarily nuclear generation,” he said on national telethon.
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