Even amid irrepressible jubilation here in Ukraine in the aftermath of a massive explosion that hit the hugely strategic and symbolic Kerch Straight bridge over the weekend, fears of retaliation by the Kremlin were never far away.
On Monday, those fears were realized.
Early in the morning, missile strikes hit the capital Kyiv for the first time in months and in areas far closer to the center of power.
The large-scale Russian bombardment struck several cities – including far reaches of western Ukraine close to NATO’s eastern flank – across the country almost simultaneously, propelling the conflict into a new phase and coming just as much of the country was starting to roar back to life.
The strikes occurred as people headed to work and while kids were being dropped off at schools. A friend in Kyiv texted me that she had just exited a bridge span 10 minutes before it was struck.
One of the most resilient Ukrainians I know, she simply wrote: “I’m not well right now.”