Ukraine

UK condemns 'vile' Russian attacks on Ukraine that killed 11

Multiple large explosions have been reported in Ukraine's capital Kyiv, following months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were retaliation for what he called Kyiv's "terrorist" actions, including an attack last weekend on a key bridge between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula that is prized by the Kremlin.

At least 11 people were killed and 64 injured in the attacks across Ukraine, according to the emergency services.

UK ministers described the attacks as "vile" and "unacceptable" as the death toll mounted in civilian areas.

About eight people were said to have been killed in just one of the Kyiv strikes, according to preliminary information, said Rostyslav Smirnov, an adviser to the Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss has spoken to Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky following the Russian attacks.

Mr Zelensky said Ukraine counts on the UK’s "leadership in consolidating international political and defence support for Ukraine, in particular regarding the protection of our skies” and also the “further isolation of Russia".

Watch: 'The enemy wants to make people run. But we can only run forward' - Zelensky's video message following strikes.

The attacks prompted an international outcry, with Ms Truss and fellow leaders of G7 nations expected to hold crisis talks on Tuesday with Mr Zelensky.

UK's Security Minister Tom Tugendhat branded the strikes on Ukrainian cities "war crimes" while Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said they were "unacceptable" and "a demonstration of weakness by Putin, not strength."

Media reports have also suggested that the building housing the German consulate in Kyiv was hit during the Russian missile strike.

Blasts were reported in the city's Shevchenko district, a large area in the centre of Kyiv that includes the historic old town as well as several government offices, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Ukrainian media also reported explosions in a number of other locations, including the western city of Lviv which has been a refuge for many people fleeing the fighting in the east, as well as Kharkiv, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr and Kropyvnytskyi.

In Lviv, energy infrastructure was hit, regional governor Maksym Kozytskyi said.

Russia launched 75 missiles at Ukraine with 45 shot down by Ukrainian air defence, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.

"They want panic and chaos"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video of himself out and about in Kyiv after this morning's strikes.

Zelensky believes the Russian strikes have targeted energy infrastructure throughout the country.

"The morning is tough. We are dealing with terrorists. Dozens of missiles, Iranian "Shaheds". They have two targets", the Ukrainian leader said.

"Energy facilities throughout the country ... they want panic and chaos, they want to destroy our energy system. They are incorrigible."

He added that "the second target is people", and warned the public to "please stay in shelters today".

President Zelensky thanked his military before assuring his people that "everything will be fine".

The Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov posted a tweet calling Russia a "terrorist state", adding that "this should be recognized officially."

Lesia Vasylenko, a member of Ukraine's parliament, posted a photo on Twitter showing that at least one explosion occurred near the main building of the Kyiv National University.

"They demolish irreversibly ...the future of Russia"

Ukraine's defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov has said his country's "courage will never be destroyed by terrorist's missiles, even when they hit the heart of our capital".

"Nor will they shake the determination of our allies. The only thing they demolish irreversibly is the future of Russia – a future of a globally despised rogue terrorist state," the Minister of Defence for Ukraine added.

The multiple strikes came a few hours before President Putin was due to hold a meeting with his security council, as Moscow's war in Ukraine approaches its eight-month milestone and the Kremlin continues to suffer setbacks in areas it is trying to annex amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent weeks.

"A demonstration of weakness by Putin, not strength"

UK's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called Russia's firing of missiles into Ukrainian cities "unacceptable" whilst retweeting comments by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba calling Putin a "terrorist who talks with missiles".

Mr Cleverly wrote: "Russia's firing of missiles into civilian areas of Ukraine is unacceptable.

"I communicated with @DmytroKuleba this morning to reinforce the UK's ongoing moral and practical support to Ukraine.

"This is a demonstration of weakness by Putin, not strength."

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: "Targeting civilians is a vile act. Russian war crimes start as a record of failure and disgrace."

Recent fighting has focused on the regions just north of Crimea, including Zaporizhzhia, where six missiles were launched overnight on Saturday from Russian-occupied areas.

In a meeting on Sunday with the chairman of Russia's Investigative Committee, President Putin, when talking about the explosion on the Kerch bridge, said "there's no doubt it was a terrorist act directed at the destruction of critically important civilian infrastructure".

The G7 call will take place at 1pm on Tuesday, with Mr Zelensky joining for part of the discussion.

Downing Street condemned the “needless and senseless violence” in Ukraine.

“We are keeping a close eye on these increasingly reckless tactics being used by Russia in response to Ukraine's advance,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.