Russia makes unprecedented declaration amid all-out assault on Ukraine: "State of war"

Moscow, Russia - Russia admitted two years into its invasion of Ukraine on Friday that it was "in a state of war," as it launched a massive wave of missile and drone attacks on its neighbor's territory.

Russia launched a massive missile and drone attack on Ukraine, targeting energy facilities and admitting for the first time that it was in a "state of war."
Russia launched a massive missile and drone attack on Ukraine, targeting energy facilities and admitting for the first time that it was in a "state of war."  © Credit SERGEY BOBOK / AFP

Russia fired almost 90 missiles and more than 60 Iranian-designed kamikaze drones, damaging dozens of energy facilities including power stations, in what Ukrainian officials said was an attempt to cripple the country's electricity and heating supply.

Russia said the wave of strikes was retaliation for a series of Ukrainian attacks on its border regions in recent weeks.

At least five people were killed and more than 20 injured, according to Ukraine's interior ministry and local officials.

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"We are in a state of war," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview to a pro-Kremlin newspaper, published Friday.

The admission marks an escalation in official language used to describe the conflict, which the Kremlin initially referred to as a "special military operation."

"Yes, it started as a special military operation, but as soon as this bunch was formed there, when the collective West became a participant on Ukraine's side, for us, it already became a war," Peskov said.

"De jure (legally) it is a special military operation. But de facto it has turned into a war," he added.

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Kharkiv lost access to power after Friday's assault, which affected hundreds of thousands in multiple Ukrainian regions.
Kharkiv lost access to power after Friday's assault, which affected hundreds of thousands in multiple Ukrainian regions.  © SERGEY BOBOK / AFP

Calling Friday's strikes "retaliation" for recent Ukrainian attacks, Moscow's defense ministry said it had targeted Ukraine's "energy sites, military-industrial complex, railway hubs, and arsenals."

"All the objectives of the massive strike were achieved," it said.

Ukraine's state-run power grid, Ukrenergo, said the attack on the energy network was the "largest on record." It said "dozens of power system facilities have been damaged," including thermal and hydroelectric power plants. Hundreds of thousands were left without electricity in at least three regions, with power being cut off completely in the major city of Kharkiv.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed once again on Friday for more Western arms, blasting political "indecision" that he said was costing Ukrainian lives.

Ukraine has struggled with shortages of both air defenses to protect its skies and ammunition on the ground, as a vital $60 billion military aid package is currently held up in the US Congress.

"Russian missiles do not have delays, as do aid packages to our country. The Shahed (drones) have no indecision, like some politicians. It is important to understand the cost of delays and postponed decisions," he said.

"We need air defense to protect people, infrastructure, homes and dams. Our partners know exactly what is needed. They can definitely support us... Life must be protected from these non-humans from Moscow."

Cover photo: Credit SERGEY BOBOK / AFP

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