Russia Launches Another Round of Major Airstrikes Against Ukraine

The attack comes two days after terrorists killed more than 130 people at a suburban Moscow concert hall.

A man lays flowers at a memorial in St. Petersburg on Sunday in memory of the victims of Moscow concert hall attack.Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

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Russia launched major airstrikes against Ukraine on Sunday that included 57 missiles and drones. Reuters reported that the attack on Kyiv and the Western region of Lviv came two days after Russia’s largest assault of the war on Ukraine’s energy system. 

As part of Sunday’s air assault, Russia used some advanced hypersonic missiles that are hard to shoot down. Overall, the Ukrainian Air Force said that it was able to intercept most of the Russian missiles and drones. Ukraine’s energy minister said Russian did manage to damage an energy facility in the western part of the country. Initial reports suggested that there were no casualties from the attacks.

The timing of Sunday’s attack is noteworthy in that it comes two days after terrorists affiliated with ISIS-K killed more than 130 people at a suburban Moscow concert hall. The attack was a major security failure on the part of President Vladimir Putin’s government.

On March 7, the United States issued a security alert warning that it was monitoring reports “that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.” Days before the attack, Putin disparaged the statement, describing it as “obvious blackmail” with “the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.”

On Saturday, Putin tried to suggest without evidence that Ukraine may have had a role in the assault, saying, “Based on preliminary information, a window for crossing the border was prepared for them by the Ukrainian side.” Ukrainian officials have denied any involvement.

Vice President Kamala Harris further reinforced the Ukrainian assertion in a Sunday interview with ABC in which she said there is no evidence “whatsoever” of a Ukrainian connection. “In fact, ” she said, “what we know to be the case is that ISIS-K is actually, by all accounts, responsible for what happened.” Harris also said that the attack was an “act of terrorism…the number of people who’ve been killed is obviously a tragedy, and we should all send our condolences to those families.”

On Sunday, Russia is observing a national day of mourning. Along with the 137 bodies recovered from the concert hall, at least 60 survivors remain in critical condition.  Authorities in Russia say that 11 people are now in custody, including, four described by Russia’s Federal Security Service as having been “directly involved.” 

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