Vladimir Putin has said Monday’s deadly missile strikes targeting cities in Ukraine were in retaliation for its “terrorist action” against Russian territory.

In televised remarks, the Russian president said Moscow had launched long-range missile attacks against Ukraine’s energy, military and communications infrastructure on Monday.

Cities including the capital Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Dnipro, Zhytomyr, and Zaporizhzhia were targeted, with a total of 14 people killed and dozens injured.

Air sirens across Ukraine as multiple cities hit – war latest

Mr Putin said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on the Kerch Bridge which links Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula. And he claimed Ukraine had also “tried to blow up” the TurkStream natural gas pipeline.

Speaking at a meeting of Russia’s Security Council, he added: “If attacks continue against Russia, the response will be harsh.

“The responses will be of the same scale as the threats to Russia.

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“In the event of further attempts to carry out terrorist acts on our territory, Russia’s response will be harsh.”

Ukraine’s National Police said at least 14 people were killed in the strikes and 97 injured nationwide.

Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, told Sky News that missile attacks continued on Monday afternoon, not in Kyiv, but other Ukrainian cities.

She added that around 45 out of 83 missiles were intercepted by Ukrainian forces, including nine kamikaze drones.

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Dinipro missile hit caught on camera

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video post that showed him outside his office: “They want panic and chaos, they want to destroy our energy system.

“The second target is people. Such a time and such targets were specially chosen to cause as much damage as possible.”

Ukraine has denied any involvement in the bridge attack.

Former Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, told Sky News that “critical infrastructure” were among Russia’s key targets in today’s strikes and that Ukraine is expecting some blackouts as a result, putting hospitals in “jeopardy”.

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‘Ukrainians plotting attack on Belarus’

He added that while it was right for the West to condemn the attacks, there should be “clear cut strong and bold actions” against Russia.

In another sign of possible escalation, Mr Putin’s closest ally, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, said he had ordered troops to deploy jointly with Russian forces near Ukraine, which he accused of planning attacks on Belarus with its Western backers.

In response to “planned” attacks on Belarus by Ukraine, Mr Lukashenko said: “This is crazy from the point of the military. Nevertheless, the process has begun. Their owners are pushing them to unleash a war against Belarus in order to drag us in”.

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