Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being a “cannibal” after a “Russian missile terror” attack killed dozens of civilians.
Russia launched a devastating series of missile attacks that struck multiple civilian targets within Ukraine in the early morning hours on Friday. At least 25 people were killed, including five children. The attacks came amid Moscow’s recent escalation of aerial assaults on Ukraine.
The heaviest toll was felt in the central Ukraine city of Uman, where officials said that a missile strike on a nine-story apartment building left 23 civilians dead, including four children.
A 31-year-old woman and her 2-year-old daughter were also killed during an attack on the eastern Ukraine city of Dnipro, according to a Telegram post from regional Governor Serhiy Lysak.
On Twitter, the Ukrainian MoD cited the deaths in Dnipro as evidence that a cannibalistic and bloodthirsty Putin was “never going to have enough” of killing civilians.
“A mother and her two-year-old daughter from Dnipro died today,” the ministry tweeted alongside a picture of Putin. “And that creature … It seems he is never going to have enough. He is hoping for another peace deal. But remember, the cannibal negotiates and then eats again.”
For the first time in almost two months, Kyiv was also targeted in the missile strikes, although no targets were hit, according to the Associated Press. Officials said that 11 cruise missiles and two drones were successfully intercepted over the city.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine described the attacks as “Russian missile terror” in a Facebook post, while accusing the Kremlin of violating international law by targeting civilians.
“The Russian federation launched yet another massive missile attack on civilian facilities and residential buildings,” the post states. “Unfortunately, there were hits that killed and wounded civilians.”
“Having failed to achieve the desired results on the battlefield, the Russian aggressor cynically continues to use tactics of terror in gross violation of the rules of International Humanitarian Law,” it continues.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Telegram that the military had launched “a high-precision long-range air-based missile strike,” adding that the “goal of the attack” had been achieved and “all the assigned targets have been neutralized.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks in a video shared on Twitter, accusing Russia of “absolute evil” for targeting the “absolutely peaceful” city of Uman, while claiming that Ukraine had shot down 21 of 23 Russian missiles.
“A Russian missile on Uman, a city that is absolutely peaceful, known to the whole world for hosting tens of thousands of Hasidic pilgrims every year … Only absolute evil can unleash such terror against Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
“Our Air Force managed to shoot down most of the Russian missiles—21 out of 23,” he continued. “If not for this, the Russian terrorist state would have managed to claim many more casualties, more lives.”
An assessment on Thursday by the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, argued that improved Russian tactics to avoid missile detection could mark the beginning of a new Russian “missile campaign to degrade Ukraine’s unified energy infrastructure.”
The Ukrainian military announced on Friday, just after the missile strikes, that it had received and already started using a shipment of French-made Caesar howitzers from Denmark.
Ukrainian officials said last week that shipments of Patriot surface-to-air missile defense systems from Western allies had been delivered, with at least some of the missile-destroying systems having reportedly been put into service days later.
Newsweek has reached out via email to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.