Putin warns of 'harsh response' after Russia hits Kiev, other cities
Russia's military struck Kiev and other Ukrainian cities on Monday with President Vladimir Putin warning of a "harsh" response in case of any further attacks such as that on the Crimean Bridge.
Kiev's police officials say the blasts caused at least five deaths and twelve injuries there, but there are no details about the causalities in other cities.
Kiev mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko, issued a statement via his official Telegram account, saying, "Several explosions in the Shevchenskivskyi district - in the center of the capital."
At least four explosions were heard, the Kiev Independent reported and according to public broadcaster Suspilne, an explosion was heard near a railway station in the city.
According to Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko, one rocket fell “right in the center of the city”.
“Cars are burning, and windows have been shattered in houses. There are dead,” he tweeted.
The Russian military also struck several other cities including Lviv, Zhytomyr, Khmelnitsky, Dnipro, and Ternopil.
According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal, 11 infrastructure facilities were damaged in eight regions as well as in Kiev on Monday.
"As of 11 a.m. (0800 GMT), 11 important infrastructure facilities in eight regions and the city of Kyiv were damaged," Shmygal said on Telegram.
Russia's defense ministry said it had hit "all designated targets" which included Ukrainian military, communications and energy infrastructure, Russian news agencies said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday accused Russia of trying to wipe his country off the face of the earth.
Meanwhile, Putin, who had called the Crimea bridge blast a "terrorist act" carried out by Ukraine secret services, vowed on Monday to react forcefully if such attacks continued.
"If attempts continue to carry out terrorist acts on our territory, Russia's responses will be harsh and in their scale will correspond to the level of threats created for the Russian Federation. No one should have any doubt about that," Putin said.
The bomb on Saturday set fire to seven oil tankers that were being carried by rail to Crimea, sparking a massive blaze and killing three people.
"It is obvious that the Ukrainian secret services ordered, organised and carried out the terrorist attack aimed at destroying Russia's critical civilian infrastructure," Putin said of the bridge explosion.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the explosion. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has, however, declared in a Twitter message that the bombing was “the beginning.”
The blast came amid a February-present Russian "special military operation" in Ukraine, which has been seeking to defend the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk's pro-Russian population against persecution by Kiev.