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Russian missiles hit multiple Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Russian missiles hit multiple Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, today. Ukraine's State Emergency Service says at least 11 people were killed and more than 60 wounded. This comes after multiple Russian setbacks, including an explosion on a symbolically important bridge. People woke Saturday to images of the partial destruction of that bridge from Russia to Crimea. President Vladimir Putin personally opened the bridge after Russia illegally seized Crimea back in 2014. These days, it's used to supply Russian forces that are retreating in Ukraine. So what is the Russian response? NPR's Jason Beaubien is in Kyiv. Hey there, Jason.

JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: What are you witnessing as you move around the city?

BEAUBIEN: So right now, I'm over at the train station. There was one of the missiles struck very close to the train station, hit an office building, which actually housed - it's the home of one of the largest energy companies here in Ukraine. One interesting thing is that throughout most of the city, it's really quiet. There's not many people out on the streets. But here at the train station, it's very busy. It seems like there's a lot of people trying to get out of town, to get out of the way.

INSKEEP: Oh. Do you mean that people are now fleeing, seeing that Kyiv is under assault again?

BEAUBIEN: Yeah, absolutely. And you saw that when the initial attack happened in February. People just flooded out of here, trying to look for safer places. Things have been quite calm in Kyiv in recent months. This is the first attack since June to actually strike the capital proper. So people have been getting quite used to things being - yeah - somewhat normal, normal life coming back. But now some people are definitely trying to get out of town.

INSKEEP: Jason, I'm trying to draw a distinction in my mind, anyway, between a military and a civilian target. If you're talking about a railway station, it's used by civilians. I guess you could argue that's a military target, conceivably. And energy headquarters - again, used by civilians but conceivably, at least, a military target. But what about other things that have been struck that you've seen as you move around the city?

BEAUBIEN: Yeah. This morning, I was over at Shevchenko Park. And it's just a park. There was a kids' playground was struck. There was an intersection on the other side of the park that was just completely blown apart. And there was all these people who clearly were on their way to work. There's probably more than a dozen cars that were blown up in that intersection. And we were watching the people from the morgue load bodies into a white van in body bags there. So President Putin has called these precision strikes on military infrastructure. But we're clearly seeing civilians are getting killed around us here in Kyiv.

INSKEEP: And then, how different is the mood in the city as a result of that?

BEAUBIEN: You know, it's actually really interesting, Steve. Often, when you're talking to Ukrainians, there's a kind of fascinating thing that I've noticed. People often get very emotional. And you can - people start to tear up. This morning, people aren't. People are - they seem sort of hardened to it. And people say that they're coming to accept this. And there seems to be more anger this morning than sort of that deep sorrow that you're often seeing. I think this is sort of - this attack back against Ukraine may end up hardening people more than the Russians probably hoped for.

INSKEEP: Jason, you're reminding me of studies from World War II in which a lot of cities were bombed from the air and utterly destroyed. And, of course, it did cause a lot of deaths but does not seem to have been the thing that tipped the war. It did not turn people against the war, to have their cities bombed.

BEAUBIEN: No, no. You know, and President Zelenskyy this morning basically said that Putin is trying to cause panic and chaos here. Zelenskyy said that that's not going to work. He called Russia a terrorist nation. But he did say that it's been a very difficult morning here.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: (Non-English language spoken).

BEAUBIEN: And Zelenskyy is saying that there were dozens of missiles and drones that hit across the country. He said that they were targeting, it seemed like, energy infrastructure. But he also said that it's very clear that they also were targeting people. And he called on people to stay in shelters, get out of the way as much as possible. But again, he said this is a very difficult morning here in Ukraine. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

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