Ukrainian officials say Russia launched more than 100 missiles over the last 2 days
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Russia accuses Ukraine's military intelligence services of being behind the bombing of a strategic bridge that links it to Crimea and announced the detention of eight people.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
The attack on a bridge Vladimir Putin symbolically opened himself four years ago is what prompted Russia to unleash a barrage of missiles across Ukraine.
MARTÍNEZ: NPR's Nathan Rott is in western Ukraine, in Lviv. Nathan, bring us up to date about what's been happening today.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Yeah. So as you said earlier today, the FSB - Russia's intelligence service - announced that they had arrested eight people that they say were involved in that bombing of the bridge which connects the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula to Russia. They claim that strike, which caused part of the bridge to fall into the sea, was directed by Ukraine's military intelligence service. Ukraine's government has not claimed responsibility, and they are dismissing these Russian claims. But Putin has warned that any strikes on Russian-controlled territory, like the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula, would lead to retaliation like the kind we saw here on Monday and Tuesday.
MARTÍNEZ: Are there any more missile strikes today?
ROTT: You know, so far today, there's been a lot of air alarms across much of the country, but, no, not the widespread missile strikes that we've definitely seen over the last few days. And those really have shaken a lot of people up here. I had dinner with one of our longtime translators here last night in Lviv, and he was saying the recent missile strikes felt like February 24 - the start of the war - all again. And they were in some ways even scarier because he lost cell phone reception. He lost power after hearing explosions, which did not happen at the beginning of the war, at least not here in Lviv. And during an air alarm we had here yesterday, I saw a bunch of people in a bomb shelter, which is something I hadn't really seen in the last couple of times I've been in Ukraine because sirens have become such a way of life here that many people are just sometimes ignoring them. That is not the case anymore.
MARTÍNEZ: Have Ukrainians mentioned what the Russians were targeting?
ROTT: Yeah, so civilian and energy infrastructure - Ukrainian officials say very few military objects were hit or even targeted in all of these missile strikes. Many of the missile strikes happened at power stations - at thermal power plants, substations - and it's been knocking out power to a number of places. Here in Lviv, large parts of the city have been without power over the last two days. Yesterday, the mayor urged people to stock up on water because of potential disruptions to the city's water supply. The concern, obviously, for people here is that winter is nearly here. Temperatures are already dropping into the 40s at night. And without electricity, it's going to be difficult for some people to heat their homes, to charge their phones - do all the things that we all do in a modern world.
MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. And yesterday, another group of seven nations held an emergency meeting about this escalation, where they heard from President Zelenskyy, Ukraine's president. What came out of that?
ROTT: Yeah, I mean, what you'd expect - there were more pledges of unwavering support. There was a warning of severe consequences for Russia if it uses a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon here, which there have been growing concerns about. As you mentioned, Zelenskyy - he did speak. He appealed for modern air defense systems, which he's been doing since the start of the war. And he also asked for independent monitors along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border because there have been some troop movements on that front, and there are concerns that Putin is going to lean on Belarus to take a more active approach in helping Russia in this conflict.
MARTÍNEZ: NPR's Nathan Rott is in Ukraine. Nathan, thanks.
ROTT: Yeah, I appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.