Russia pounded Ukraine with a fresh wave of deadly long-range missiles Tuesday, a day after killing 19 in what the UN human rights office condemned as a likely “war crime.”

Those who survived Monday’s bombardment — one of the worst in nearly eight months of war — woke again Tuesday to the piercing scream of air raid shelters warning of fresh assaults from the skies.

The worst-hit city in Tuesday’s assault was Zaporizhzhia, where missiles struck a school, a medical facility and residential buildings, setting off large fires, according to local city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev. 

Elderly man walks past destroyed buildings in Zaporizhzhia early Tuesday.
The worst-hit city Tuesday was Zaporizhzhia, where missiles struck a school, a medical facility and residential buildings, setting off large fires.

At least one person was killed in the city just days after 13 — including 10 children — died when an apartment block was hit Sunday.

The State Emergency Service said the attack came from at least 12 long-range S-300 missiles. While designed to be a long-range surface-to-air missile, the S-300 has been increasingly used by desperate Russian forces to strike targets on the ground.

A Ukrainian man carries a bucket of water to extinguish the remains of a fire in the shell of a car shop that was destroyed in Zaporizhzhia on  Tuesday.
A Ukrainian man carries a bucket of water to extinguish the remains of a fire in the shell of a car shop that was destroyed in Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday.

At least three missiles also hit critical infrastructure in Lviv, leaving much of the west Ukrainian city without power just hours after it had been restored after the previous day’s attacks, city mayor Andriy Sadovyi said.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his nation’s energy facilities have become Russia’s “primary targets.”

“These are war crimes planned well in advance and aimed at creating unbearable conditions for civilians — Russia’s deliberate strategy since months,” he insisted Tuesday.

Firefighters tackle blaze at bombed-out car shop in Zaporizhzhia.
The latest attacks amount to war crimes, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister.

Ukraine reported attempted attacks on several other regions Tuesday, insisting it had successfully shot down the missiles.

That included four Russian missiles reportedly shot down in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, and another four in the south, where five drones were also destroyed over the Mykolaiv and the Odesa regions.

Another missile was shot down near the skies over Kyiv, the capital where residents once hunkered down in underground shelters for the first time since the early days of war.

The fresh assaults came as Ukrainian officials raised the death toll from Monday’s attacks to 19, with more than 100 others wounded.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Monday’s strikes as being “particularly shocking.”

“We have to stress that intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects — that is objects which are not military objectives — amount to a war crime,” said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani, calling on Russia to “refrain from further escalation.”

The commissioner’s spokeswoman also noted that “damage to key power stations and lines ahead of the upcoming winter raises further concerns for the protection of civilians.

“Attacks targeting civilians and objects indispensable to the survival of civilians are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” she stressed. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had gloated about his attacks, insisting it was justified because of Ukraine’s “terrorist” actions in blowing up Russia’s key bridge to annex Crimea on Sunday. While Kyiv has not taken responsibility for that attack, it has widely celebrated it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council on Monday, hours after his fresh missile attacks on Ukraine.
Putin justified his escalated attacks, accusing Ukraine of terrorism for a weekend blast on a key Russian bridge.

The speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament went even further Tuesday — likening Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to deranged al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. 

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, also warned that Western military assistance to Kyiv — including training soldiers and feeding Ukraine real-time satellite data — has “increasingly drawn Western nations into the conflict on the part of the Kyiv regime.”

“Russia will be forced to take relevant countermeasures, including asymmetrical ones,” he said.

While stressing that Russia isn’t “interested in a direct clash” with the US and NATO, he warned: “We hope that Washington and other Western capitals are aware of the danger of an uncontrollable escalation.”

However, the head of the UK’s intelligence services insisted the recent escalation is a sign of desperation from Putin and his flagging war.

“We believe that Russia is running short of munitions, it’s certainly running short of friends and we have seen, because of the declaration for mobilization, that it is running short of troops,” Sir Jeremy Fleming told BBC Radio 4.

Fleming, the head of GCHQ, will give a speech Tuesday that will declare that Putin “misjudged the situation” and is fast losing the support of the Russian people, according to a transcript shared by The Telegraph.

Protesters rally against Russia's war.
Russians are starting to see how Putin misjudged the war, according to the head of the UK’s intelligence services.
AFP via Getty Images

 “The costs to Russia – in people and equipment — are staggering,” he is due to say in the speech.

“Russia’s forces are exhausted” of their “desperate situation” — and the Russian population “has started to understand that too” and are “seeing just how badly Putin has misjudged the situation,” he is expected to say.

“And they are feeling the extent of the dreadful human cost of his war of choice.”

However, UK intelligence has yet to see any signs that Putin is desperate enough to follow through with his threats to use nuclear weapons, Fleming told the BBC.

“They are staying within the doctrine that we understand for their use,” he told BBC Radio 4. “I would hope that we will see indicators, if they started to go down that path.”

With Post wires

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