Day 658: Russia launches 10 ballistic missiles at Kyiv

Russia’s ballistic missile attack on Kyiv injures 53 and causes extensive damage. Hackers linked to Russian intelligence claim cyberattack on Kyivstar. Remarks by President Zelenskyi and President Biden in a joint press conference.

Russia’s ballistic missile attack on Kyiv injures 53, causes extensive damage

Overnight on Wednesday, December 13, powerful explosions rang out in Kyiv as Russia launched 10 ballistic missiles toward the capital. That was its second missile attack on Kyiv this week. All 10 ballistic missiles were intercepted by Ukraine’s air defenses, but their debris caused extensive damage to several neighborhoods. At least 53 people were injured, of whom 20 were taken to hospital.

In the Dniprovskyi district, falling debris damaged the façade of an apartment building, and a balcony on the 6th floor caught fire. The debris also struck a children’s hospital. At least 34 people were injured in the neighborhood, of whom 15 needed hospital treatment. Most had cuts from flying glass or suffered severe stress reactions. Falling debris also damaged overhead power lines, knocking power out to 35 private houses. 

In the Darnytskyi district, an apartment building caught fire. The fire has affected 400 square meters and was later extinguished. In the Desnyanskyi district, the debris fell beyond the built-up area and caused no casualties or damage. Rescue workers were not deployed to those sites.

If the use of S-400 missiles in recent attacks on Kyiv is confirmed, it could signal a dangerous trend in Russia’s missile terror, Defense Express, a Ukrainian defense analytics group said in an article. “They could begin systematic ballistic missile attacks on Kyiv to lower Ukrainians’ morale,” the article reads.

Russia is launching  ballistic missiles at Kyiv to target a critical infrastructure facility, head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak said. 

“The Russians are targeting a critical infrastructure facility. We know where they strike,” he said on Telegram.

Hackers linked to Russian intelligence claim cyberattack on Kyivstar

A hacking group believed by Ukraine to be affiliated with Russian military intelligence claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a cyberattack that knocked Kyivstar, Ukraine’s biggest mobile network operator offline. The mobile company continues to work in close cooperation with Ukraine’s Security Service to restore service.

In a press statement, Ukraine’s Security Service said: “Responsibility for the cyberattack was taken by one of the Russian pseudo hacking groups. Their hacking activities are associated with the main [intelligence] directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (or GRU) that uses the group to legitimate its criminal activities,” Ukraine’s Security Service said. Russian media referred to the group as Solntsepyok.  

“The Security Service of Ukraine continues to document a Russian cyberattack on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure as yet another war crime,” the statement reads. 

Cyber specialists of Ukraine’s Security Service, Kyivstar’s technicians and other state agencies work together to restore service after a powerful hacking attack yesterday. 

According to a preliminary plan, on Wednesday, the company could restore Internet to households, and begin to restore mobile and Internet service.

Remarks by President Zelenskyi and President Biden in joint press conference

It seems increasingly unlikely that Congress will leave for a Christmas break with a Ukraine aid deal completed. The U.S. will not “walk away” from Ukraine, President Biden told a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on Tuesday.

“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine. We must, we must, we must prove him wrong,” Biden said. “You know, we need to fully appreciate — fully appreciate how it’s wrong — how this is being viewed around the world and being used by Russia,” he continued.

Biden urged Congress to approve additional aid to Ukraine. “History will judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause. Today, Ukraine’s freedom is on the line. But if we don’t stop Putin, it will endanger the freedom of everyone almost everywhere.  Putin will keep going, and would-be aggressors everywhere will be emboldened to try to take what they can by force,” he said.

“Mr. President, I will not walk away from Ukraine and neither will the American people. A clear bipartisan majority of people across the United States and in Congress support your country. They understand, as I do, that Ukraine’s success and its ability to deter aggression in the future are vital to security for the world at large,” the U.S. President said.

He said his team was working with Senate Democrats and Republicans to try to find a bipartisan compromise both in terms of changes in policy and provide the resources they need to secure the border.

“Holding Ukraine funding hostage in an attempt to force through an extreme Republican partisan agenda on the border is not how it works. We need real solutions,” Biden said.

Ukrainian troops have freed 50 per cent of the territories that Russia occupied after February 24, 2022, President Zelenskyi said. “We won the Black Sea and are reviving our economy,” he added. 

“We aim to win the air battle, crushing Russian air dominance.  This will intensify our ground advantages in 2024 with our control of the skies. Who controls the skies controls the war’s duration,” Zelenskyi said.

Exploring the role of cossacks in shaping the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Ukraine in Flames #545

The heroic Cossack age is the age of courage and endurance, the struggle for one’s own identity and freedom. Nowadays, the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are doing everything possible and impossible so that Ukrainians can live in a peaceful, calm and free country. The knowledge of how the Cossacks lived and fought helps us not only to feel a connection with previous generations, but to use their experience and increase the effectiveness of the work of a modern combat unit. Watch Ukraine in flames #545 to find out about the enduring Cossack legacy, exploring how, despite being shrouded in myths, it remains a fundamental pillar in shaping the strength of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


  • Vasyl Pavlov, Military Historian, Head of the NGO “Military History Center”
  • Vadym Zadunaiskyy, Professor of the Department of World History of Modern Times of the Ukrainian Catholic University