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A missile is seen in the sky over Kyiv during a Russian missile strike on March 24.Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Russia launched the third massive attack on Ukraine in four days on Sunday, largely targeting Kyiv and Lviv, and putting Poland’s armed forces on alert as one of the Russian missiles briefly violated its airspace.

Ukraine’s air force says Russia struck the country with 57 missiles and drones and that air defences destroyed 18 of 29 inbound missiles and 25 of 28 attack drones.

Russia launches major attack as Kremlin says it’s at war with Ukraine

Later Sunday, Ukraine’s state-run Naftogaz energy company reported that an underground gas storage site was attacked but added that gas supplies, stored deep underground, had not been affected.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said efforts to restore power supplies after recent Russian strikes against energy infrastructure were under way in various regions, with the greatest difficulties in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper, in a posting just after midnight on the Telegram messaging app, said parts of the city were without power after damage to infrastructure caused by a new night-time drone attack. DTEK, the biggest private power company in the country, said rolling blackouts had been imposed in the port of Odesa.

In the attack on Western Ukraine, Poland’s armed forces said one of Russia’s cruise missiles flew over its airspace.

“The object entered Polish airspace near the town of Oserdow (Lublin Voivodeship) and stayed there for 39 seconds,” Poland’s armed forces wrote on social-media platform X. The post added that during the entire flight, the missile was observed by military radar systems and all necessary procedures to ensure the safety of Polish airspace were launched, including activating Polish and allied aviation.

Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said in a televised news conference that the Russian missile would have been shot down if there was any indication it was targeting Poland. The country’s Foreign Ministry said it would demand explanations from Russia.

“Above all, we call on the Russian Federation to stop the terrorist attacks on the inhabitants and territory of Ukraine, end the war, and address the country’s internal problems,” the ministry said in a statement.

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Kyiv residents and their pets take cover in the subway from Russian airstrikes on March 24.Olga Ivashchenko/The Globe and Mail

Mr. Zelensky said that it’s been 760 days of full-scale war and more than two years “of the obvious reality of what Putin’s system brings to the world. Ruins instead of cities and villages. Pain and death instead of life. Terror instead of international law.”

He wrote on X that Ukrainians bravely defend their country and he is grateful to everyone in the world who helps Ukraine and its people as he called for more support.

“Russia must lose this war. Only this can reliably protect life,” he said. “Air defence, long-range weapons, artillery, sanctions, confiscation of Russian assets, support of our state – all this brings the restoration of honest peace and normal life closer.”

Putin critics lend support to Russians fighting for Ukraine

In Kyiv, an air alert warning lasted for more than two hours early Sunday morning and explosions could be heard.

Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said Russian forces launched cruise missiles from strategic bombers, and rockets entered Kyiv from the north. Mr. Popko wrote on the messaging app Telegram that about a dozen Russian missiles were hit by air defence forces over Kyiv and in the vicinity of the capital. He said that according to preliminary data, there were no casualties or damage in the capital.

“The enemy continues the massive missile terror of Ukraine. It does not give up the goal of destroying Kyiv at any cost,” he said.

Mr. Popko appealed to Kyiv residents not to ignore air warning signals and to use shelters to protect themselves and their loved ones. He said that as a result of the missile strike in Kyiv, debris had fallen in a forest and had damaged the façade of a multistorey residential building.

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Kyiv residents take cover from Russian airstrikes in the subway on March 24.Olga Ivashchenko/The Globe and Mail

Russia has been increasing attacks and bombarding Ukraine over the past few days. On Friday, Russian missiles targeted energy sites, including the Dnipro hydroelectric power plant in central Ukraine, the country’s largest, and more than a million people were left without power. Several residential buildings across the country were also damaged or destroyed. And early Thursday, Russia had unleashed its largest missile attack in weeks on Kyiv and the region, injuring at least 17 people.

Russia has also changed its war rhetoric. The Kremlin said recently that the country is in a “state of war,” a marked departure from previously calling its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow that it started as a special military operation but as soon as the West began supporting Ukraine, it became a war.

Russia has arrested four men suspected of attacking Moscow concert hall leaving more than 130 dead

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Police officers inspect part of a Russian Kh-55 cruise missile, intercepted during a missile strike, in a park in Kyiv on March 24.Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

In the Lviv region Saturday night, rockets and Iranian-made Shahed drones attacked critical infrastructure, Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the regional military administration said on Telegram.

He said 19 cruise missiles and seven attack drones flew into the area of the Zahid air defence complex, which is responsible for a number of regions in Western Ukraine. Mr. Kozytskyi said that during the air alert, which was announced Saturday night, Russia hit the Lviv region with hypersonic missiles from MiG-31K aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian armed forces said they struck targets in Russian-occupied Crimea. The forces said Ukraine successfully hit the large amphibious ships Yamal and Azov, a communications centre and several infrastructure facilities of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Russia on March 22 staged its largest air strike on Ukrainian energy infrastructure of the war, hitting a vast dam, killing at least five people and leaving more than a million others without electricity, Kyiv said.


With a report from Kateryna Hatsenko, the Associated Press and Reuters

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