- Attacks across Ukrainian cities during Monday rush hour
- 'They are trying to destroy us,' says Zelenskyy
- Apparent revenge for explosion on Crimea bridge
- Ukraine says 11 major infrastructure targets hit
- Power, water, heat knocked out in swaths of country
Russia pounded cities across Ukraine during rush hour on Monday morning, killing civilians and knocking out power and heat, in apparent revenge strikes after President Vladimir Putin declared a blast on Russia's bridge to Crimea to be a terrorist attack.
Cruise missiles tore into busy intersections, parks and tourist sites in the centre of downtown Kyiv with an intensity unseen even when Russian forces attempted to capture the capital early in the war.
Explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in Ukraine's west, Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia in the south and Kharkiv in the east.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the rush hour attacks appeared to have been deliberately timed to kill people as well as to knock out electricity.
His prime minister said 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions, leaving swaths of the country with no power, water or heat.
In Kyiv, the body of a man in jeans lay in a street at a major intersection, surrounded by flaming cars. In a park, a soldier cut through the clothes of a woman who lay in the grass to try to treat her wounds. Two other women were bleeding nearby.
A huge crater gaped next to a children's playground in a central Kyiv park. The remains of an apparent missile were buried, smoking in the mud.
More volleys of missiles struck the capital again later in the morning. Pedestrians huddled for shelter at the entrance of Metro stations and inside parking garages.
By mid-morning, Ukraine's defence ministry said Russia had fired 81 cruise missiles, and Ukraine's air defences had shot down 43 of them. Kyiv city police said at least five people had been killed and 12 wounded in the capital.
Security camera footage posted online showed shrapnel and flames engulfing a glass-bottomed footbridge across a wooded valley in the city centre, one of Kyiv's most popular tourist sites, and one pedestrian running away from the blast. Reuters later saw a huge crater beneath the bridge, which was damaged but remained standing.
"They are trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the earth," Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app. "The air raid sirens do not subside throughout Ukraine. There are missiles hitting. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded."
Zelenskyy later filmed a video message on a mobile phone on an empty central Kyiv street surrounded by landmarks. The strikes had two main targets, he said: energy infrastructure and people.
"Such a time and such targets were specially chosen to cause as much damage as possible."
There was no immediate word from Moscow on what it was targetting. Russia denies deliberately targetting civilians.
Talks with missiles
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal promised to restore utilities as quickly as possible. Officials reported that power was down in Ukraine's second largest city Kharkiv and nearby Poltava.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: "Putin's only tactic is terror on peaceful Ukrainian cities, but he will not break Ukraine down. This is also his response to all appeasers who want to talk with him about peace: Putin is a terrorist who talks with missiles."
Olena Somyk, 41, sheltered with her 6-year-old daughter, Daria, in an underground garage where hundreds of other people waited for the all-clear. She had reached Kyiv earlier in the war after fleeing through Russia and across Europe from the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson.
"Really, I think they did this because they are bastards. They want to destroy our people, our infrastructure, everything," said Somyk. Putin, she said, "is a small angry man, so we don't know what more to expect".
At one of Kyiv's busiest road junctions, a massive crater had been blown in the intersection. Buildings were damaged and two cars and a van near the crater were completely wrecked, blacked and pitted from shrapnel.
Windows had been blown out of buildings at Kyiv's main Taras Shevchenko University. National Guard troops in full combat gear and carrying assault rifles were lined up outside an education union building.
"The air raids sirens are going off, and therefore the threat continues," mayor Vitali Klitschko posted on social media.
The strikes came two days after an explosion damaged the only bridge over the Kerch Strait to the Crimea peninsula, which Putin on Sunday called an act of terrorism by Ukraine's special services.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the blast on the bridge but has celebrated it. Senior Russian officials demanded a swift response from the Kremlin ahead of a meeting of Putin's security council on Monday.
Commentators on Russian television have increasingly been calling for massive retaliation against Ukraine, with the military leadership facing public criticism for the first time as Russian forces have been beaten back on the battlefield.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the staunchly pro-Kremlin leader of Russia's Chechnya region who had demanded in recent days that military commanders be sacked, hailed Monday's attacks: "Now I am 100% satisfied with how the special military operation is being conducted."
"We warned you Zelensky, that Russia hasn't even got started yet, so stop complaining ... and run! Run away without looking back to the West," he wrote.
The bridge, which Putin personally opened, is a major supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and a symbol of Russia's control of Crimea, the peninsula it proclaimed annexed after its troops seized it in 2014.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said ahead of the council meeting that Russia should kill the "terrorists" responsible for the attack.
"Russia can only respond to this crime by directly killing terrorists, as is the custom elsewhere in the world. This is what Russian citizens expect," he was quoted as saying by state news agency TASS.
Russia has faced major setbacks on the battlefield since the start of September, with Ukrainian forces bursting through the front lines and recapturing territory in the northeast and the south.
Putin responded to the losses by ordering a mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of reservists, proclaiming the annexation of occupied territory and threatening repeatedly to use nuclear weapons.