Ukraine war: Russian ‘kamikaze drones’ strike Kyiv, several dead
- The central Shevchenkivskyi district of Ukraine’s capital was rocked by blasts early on Monday
- Russia has repeatedly been using the so-called suicide drones to target urban centres and infrastructure
Russian-launched “kamikaze drones” attacked Kyiv early Monday, the Ukrainian presidency said, describing the strikes as an act of desperation nearly eight months into a war that has claimed thousands of lives.
Air-raid sirens sounded in Kyiv soon before the first explosion at around 6.35am, followed by sirens across most of the country.
“The capital was attacked by kamikaze drones,” the president’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on social media.
“The Russians think it will help them, but it shows their desperation,” he added.
“We need more air defence systems and as soon as possible. More weapons to defend the sky and destroy the enemy.”
The attacks come exactly a week after Russia unleashed a massive wave of missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital and cities across the country.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said two of the people killed in the capital were a young married couple.
“A husband and wife who were expecting a child. The woman was six months pregnant,” he said on social media.
The mayor also posted a picture of what he said was the charred wreckage of one of the kamikaze drones, loitering munitions that can hover while waiting for a target to attack.
In the eastern region of Sumy the regional governor meanwhile said three people had been killed and several more were injured.
“At 5.20 in the morning, three Russian rockets hit a facility of civil infrastructure. At least three people died. Nine are injured. There are still people under the rubble,” Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said on social media.
Prime Minister Denys Shmygal earlier said Russian strikes had hit energy facilities in Sumy and the central Dnipropetrovsk region, where, according to the presidency, attacks had left some people killed and injured.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week said Iranian drones were used in Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities, although Tehran denies supplying Russia with weapons for the war.
On October 10, Russian missiles rained down on Kyiv and other cities in the biggest wave of strikes in months.
The attacks killed at least 19 people, wounded 105 others and sparked an international outcry.
Moscow carried out further strikes on October 11, though on a smaller scale, striking energy installations in Western Ukraine far from the front.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were in retaliation for an explosion that damaged a key bridge linking Russia to the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula.
Putin on Friday had expressed satisfaction and said there was no need for further massive strikes on Ukraine “for now”.
The Russian president also claimed Moscow was “doing everything right” in its nearly eight-month invasion of Ukraine despite a string of embarrassing defeats.
In southern Ukraine, Kyiv’s troops have been pushing closer and closer to Kherson, the main city in the region of the same name just north of Crimea.
Kherson is one of four regions in Ukraine that Moscow recently claimed to have annexed, and the city of Kherson was the first major city to fall after the Kremlin launched its invasion.
Washington on Friday announced fresh military assistance for Kyiv “in the wake of Russia’s brutal missile attacks on civilians across Ukraine”.
The new US$725 million package included more ammunition for the Himars rocket systems that have been used by Ukraine to wreak havoc on Russian targets.
It brings the total US military assistance to Ukraine to US$17.6 billion since the Russian invasion on February 24.