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The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv came under sustained Russian missile attacks

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

We now turn to the view from inside Ukraine. NPR's Greg Myre is in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. Good morning, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.

FADEL: Now, you were there yesterday when Kyiv came under sustained Russian missile attacks. Give us a sense of what that was like.

MYRE: Well, at this point, everybody knows the drill because this is the fourth time we've had a big barrage in the past month. The air raid sirens went off in the afternoon all around the country, meaning that Russian launches had been detected. So we knew the missiles would be coming in about 20 minutes or so. People took shelter. We started hearing explosions in Kyiv. Though, it's hard to tell if this is incoming Russian missiles striking or outgoing Ukrainian air defenses firing. Within about 30 minutes or so, we got the reports that there were missile strikes in Kyiv and other cities all around the country, east to west, north to south. And this included Lviv in the very west of the country, near the border with Poland.

FADEL: Well, I'm glad you're safe. I understand you visited one of the sites where it was hit in Kyiv. What did you find there?

MYRE: So a Russian missile hit an apartment building about a 10-minute drive from our hotel here in central Kyiv. Now, this was a very typical, Soviet-era, five-story apartment block surrounded by other buildings just like it. There were certainly no military targets that were evident, no electrical grid. So one possibility is that the Ukrainians, their defenses, hit an incoming Russian missile. And the remnants of that Russian missile crashed into the apartment. The missile went into a third-floor window of this building and set off a raging fire with thick black smoke. And it killed a woman who lived there. Now, residents were gathered outside in the darkness by the time we got there. And I spoke to one of them, Vladimir Yanachuk, and asked him about what he expects this winter.

VLADIMIR YANACHUK: We are not afraid about this. Ukrainian not afraid about this. And winter will be hard. But this winter will be hard to not only Ukrainians, for Russian soldiers, too.

MYRE: And as we continued talking on the street, the lights suddenly came on in the surrounding apartment buildings, though, not the one that had been hit. But it's a real testament to how Ukraine is scrambling to keep the lights on in the face of these Russian attacks.

FADEL: Yeah. And with these missiles hitting the energy grid, will Ukraine be able to keep repairing its electricity grid? Or will these Russian attacks cause a major humanitarian crisis in the cold this winter?

MYRE: Yeah. Leila, this is a huge challenge. And it's getting harder. Kyiv's mayor said about half the city was without power last night. Other cities also have had extensive power outages. Now, the Ukrainians are quite capable of making these repair. The question is having enough workers and, more importantly, having enough equipment needed to replace these damaged facilities. It's going to be an ongoing battle in the months ahead.

FADEL: That's NPR's Greg Myre in Kyiv in Ukraine. Thank you so much, Greg. Stay safe.

MYRE: My pleasure. Will do. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.