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Dozens of people wait in line to get water from a pair of taps in a Kyiv park, on Oct. 31.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

After days of relative calm, Russia launched a series of missile strikes across Ukraine Monday – including in Kyiv, where a main power station was hit, knocking out electricity and water for hundreds of thousands of homes.

Air raid sirens began sounding before 7 a.m. as rockets pounded targets in the capital and nine other regions.

Ukraine’s military said it shot down 45 of 55 Russian cruise missiles that had been launched from the Caspian Sea and the Rostov region of western Russia. But enough rockets got through to cause serious damage to one power station in Kyiv and 17 others across the country. A hydroelectric power plant in the central region of Kremenchuk was also struck.

“Another barbaric attack on Ukraine’s energy system took place this morning. Electric substations, hydropower and heat-generation facilities were hit by rocket fire,” Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko wrote on Facebook.

Since Oct. 10, the Russian army has taken aim at power, heating and water services in an apparent effort to demoralize Ukrainians as winter approaches. Ukrainian officials have said that 30 per cent of the country’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed, forcing suppliers to introduce rolling blackouts in order to conserve power.

This was the third Monday this month that the country woke up to a widespread missile attack.

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Smoke rises during a Russian missile attack in Kyiv on Oct. 31.GLEB GARANICH/Reuters

Olha Parshakova was on her way to work around 9 a.m. at a government office building in Kyiv when she got a call from colleagues who told her that three missiles had struck the nearby power station. The blasts blew out many of the windows in the nine-storey office tower and damaged some doors. Those who had already arrived at their desks fell to the floor, and miraculously no one was injured, Ms. Parshakova said. “I’m in shock,” she added as she stood outside the building Monday surrounded by broken glass and waiting to meet with her supervisor.

The power station supplied electricity to 350,000 apartments in the area, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, so the blasts left a large section of the city without electricity and running water. Mr. Klitschko said workers had found a temporary solution to the power outage, but by late afternoon many residents were still lining up at public water taps.

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Maryna Rafalska waited two hours to get water from a pair of taps in a Kyiv park. She loaded four plastic jugs into a baby carriage and planned to haul them home, then carry them up to her fourth-floor apartment. Ms. Rafalska lives with her husband and two-year old daughter and felt worn down by the power cuts and now the lack of water. “It’s really hard,” she said wearily. “But we have no other option.”

Just ahead of her, Yevheniia Filipova tried to put on a brave face as she stood in line with four jugs. She has a four-year old son, who was playing in the park with his grandmother while Ms. Filipova waited to fill up her containers. “It’s not the worst thing,” she said defiantly. “We will be able to live through it.”

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Svitlana Matsynska, who runs the Golden Key kindergarten, tries to figure how to cope without electricity after three Russian missiles hit a nearby power station.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

At the Golden Key kindergarten, principal Svitlana Matsynska huddled with staff just hours after the missile attack to figure out how they would cope without electricity. The kindergarten is close to the targeted power station, and Ms. Matsynska had sent the children home for the day. But she didn’t know how long the power would be out or when the centre could reopen. “We don’t know what to do,” she said.

The kindergarten had already been struggling with the constant interruptions of air raid sirens. Every time the sirens sound, the children are taken to a nearby shelter. The staff try to keep the kids occupied by playing games, listening to music or painting. But it’s a challenge considering the warnings can go on for three hours at a time. “Some of the little ones start to cry,” Ms. Matsynska said. “No child should live through this.”

Monday’s rocket attacks came two days after a Ukrainian airborne and drone strike on Russia’s Black Sea naval base of Sevastopol. Russia’s Defence Ministry said “nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous sea drones” had launched an attack at 4:20 a.m. Saturday. It has been reported that Russia’s Black Sea flagship vessel, the frigate Admiral Makarov, was damaged during the strike.

As a result of the hit on the Black Sea base, Russia has said it will pull out of a United Nations-brokered deal that allowed grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in and around Odesa. “The Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the ‘Black Sea Initiative,’ and suspends its implementation from today for an indefinite period,” a statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

The UN, Ukraine and Turkey, which also helped negotiate the agreement, have indicated that they plan to continue shipping grain. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said 12 ships left Ukrainian ports Monday.