Residents of Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine were woken up by loud explosions on Monday, 10 October. It is the first time since June that the capital has been attacked. FMS spoke to Bogdan Ferens, who was in Kyiv on the morning of the attacks.
"10 October was a terrible day for millions of Ukrainians," said Bogdan Ferens, founder of SD Platform, an organisation promoting social democracy in Ukraine and partner of the Max van der Stoel Foundation (FMS). "I had just returned to Kyiv in the morning when the airstrike started. It was not yet clear what the scale of the attacks with Russian missiles would be."
That scale has proved enormous. It is the most massive attack on Ukraine's civilian population since the first day of the invasion. Explosions have been reported in Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine; Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine; Zaporizhzhia in the south; and Kharkiv in the east. People across the country have been advised to stay in shelters and not to ignore air alarm sirens.
According to latest reports, the attacks have so far killed 19 people and injured 105. Residential areas and key infrastructure have been attacked with missiles and Iranian-supplied kamikaze drones.
Terrible déjà vu
For those who were in Ukraine when Russia's large-scale invasion began on 24 February, this is horrifying déjà vu: "Many residents immediately remembered 24 February, when explosions were heard in various parts of the Kyiv region," says Bogdan.
Bogdan also noticed a difference from the first day of the war. Ukraine's civilian population seems to have become accustomed to the ongoing terror: "The difference was that there was no more panic. Even the children in the underground shelters behaved calmly. I would even say there was some understanding on their faces. Putin's terror, which has been going on for 9 months, has taken the lives of about 400 children."
Civilian population is targeted
Russia's 10 October missile attacks indiscriminately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. "Many cities were left without power, water and internet," reports Bogdan.
The most vulnerable sections of the population are the hardest hit. "We must first and foremost help the women, children and displaced people who no longer have a roof over their heads and cannot feed their families."
A desperate response from Putin
The outrageous attacks are a desperate Kremlin response to criticism at home after weeks of military losses. "Faced with a military defeat, the Kremlin is using every means to intimidate Ukrainians," Bogdan said.
The missile attacks on critical infrastructure also forced Ukraine's energy ministry to halt electricity exports to the European Union. It may be an attempt by Putin to break European solidarity with Ukraine. Bogdan: "This is Putin's goal. He is trying to destroy our capacity to export energy - necessary for EU citizens."
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Photo: SD Platform