Zaluzhny said 54 of the 69 incoming Russian missiles and explosive drones had been shot down across the country. Regional authorities, including in the northern Sumy region and the southern Mykolaiv province near the Black Sea, also reported that attacks were intercepted.
But some still hit their targets, disrupting power and water supplies. The shelling threatens to exacerbate a growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine amid harsh winter conditions.
The rain of fragments from intercepted Russian missiles damaged two private buildings, an industrial facility and a children’s playground in suburbs of Kyiv, according to city officials. No casualties were immediately reported.
Multiple explosions also went off in Kharkiv, in the east of the country, and in the city of Lviv, near its western border with Poland, according to its mayors.
The explosions also knocked out power to 90% of Lviv and stopped all trams and trolleybuses, and residents could experience water cuts, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi wrote on Telegram.
Authorities in Dnipro, Odessa and Kryvyi Rih prepared for attacks on Thursday, cutting power to their regions early in the day to minimize any damage to critical infrastructure if they were hit by Russian shelling.
The ongoing shelling came as efforts for peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow failed to gain ground.
Earlier this month, the United States agreed to give a Patriot missile battery Ukraine to strengthen its defense. The United States and other allies have also pledged to provide energy-related equipment to help Ukraine resist attacks on its infrastructure.
Ukraine has said that it will never give up its soil and has indicated that it will not accept Moscow’s terms. Podolyak said on Thursday that Russia was aiming to «destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse.»