KYIV, Ukraine — Russia launched dozens of missiles at Ukrainian energy infrastructure on Friday morning, knocking out heating systems in towns and cities across the country as temperatures dropped well below freezing and prompting the national utility to impose sweeping emergency blackouts.
Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top commander of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said that Russia had launched 76 missiles at critical infrastructure targets across Ukraine. Air defenses managed to shoot down 60 of the missiles, he said in a statement.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said that emergency power outages were being introduced “across the country” to ration energy as crews scramble to repair the damage. “We ask for your understanding regarding the power outages and temporary water and heat supply interruptions,” he said in a statement.
Ukrenergo, the national electric utility, said that after the strikes more than 50 percent of electricity consumption needs were unable to be met.
It was not clear how many of the missiles had reached their intended target as large explosions were reported in the cities across the country, including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa. Early reports indicated that at least two people had been killed.
Mr. Ihnat said that Russia had fired a variety of missiles across the country in an attempt to evade air defenses — using less precise munitions and drones to deplete Ukrainian air defenses so that Moscow’s more powerful precision missiles would reach their targets.
Russia has bombarded Ukraine’s electrical grid, heating, water and natural gas infrastructure with missile and drone attacks since October in what military analysts say is a strategy to demoralize Ukrainians by plunging the country into darkness and cold as winter sets in.
“Energy facilities have already been damaged both in the east and in the south of the country,” Herman Galushchenko, the energy minister, said in a statement on Friday.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said there were explosions and continuing attacks in at least three districts of the capital and urged residents to remain in shelters. Subway service was temporarily halted on all lines, and the water supply was interrupted throughout the city because of damage to infrastructure, the mayor wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Several explosions could be heard in the center of the city, suggesting that the capital’s air defense missiles were firing at targets in the sky.
In the central city of Kremenchuk, which is south of Kyiv and sits on the banks of the Dnipro River, the mayor said that heat was out for more than 200,000 customers as temperatures hovered below 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Be sure to close all windows and take all possible measures to preserve heat in the premises,” Vitalii Maletsky, the mayor, said in a statement.
Roughly one million people in the Kirovohrad region, which is west of the Dnipro, were left “completely without electricity,” said Andriy Raikovych, the head of the regional military administration.
In Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, the head of the regional military administration said that 10 missiles had hit the city, damaging critical infrastructure. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but local officials said there was no electricity in the city of Kharkiv.
In the central city of Kryvyi Rih, missiles damaged infrastructure and hit a residential building, local officials said. Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the local regional military administration, said in a statement that two people had died and that at least five people were injured, including two children.