Russia launches massive drone attack on Kyiv as city prepares to celebrate founding

Russian forces pounded Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in a single day in what native officers described as the most important kamikaze drone assault since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of the nation 15 months in the past.

Officers mentioned Ukraine’s air defence methods had downed 52 of the 54 incoming drones launched in opposition to Ukrainian targets within the early hours of Sunday, with 40 downed in Kyiv alone. The assault got here as town ready for the annual Kyiv Day celebrations held to mark its founding.

“This was probably the most large drone assault on the capital for the reason that starting of the full-scale invasion,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s army administration, mentioned in an announcement. “[It was] the 14th air assault on the capital for the reason that starting of Might,” he added.

Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of Ukraine’s air pressure, mentioned in an announcement: “A report variety of enemy strike UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] have been destroyed tonight. The overwhelming majority — in Kyiv area.”

He added: “Solely fragments stay from the ‘items’ despatched by the occupiers on Kyiv Day.”

The engines of the drones have been audible following the air raid sirens, adopted by the sound of machine gun hearth, surface-to-air defence methods and the fighter jets looking for to intercept them.

Officers reported injury throughout town. One particular person died and one other two have been hospitalised after particles from a downed drone hit a seven-story non-residential constructing.

On the southern outskirts of Kyiv’s downtown Pechersky district, a few of the particles fell on to a five-storey residential constructing, destroying the roof and sending masonry crashing into the road beneath. No casualties have been reported.

One household escaped damage when particles blasted via the roof into their bed room. “We awoke and went into the hallway after air-raid sirens went off,” mentioned the mom, standing outdoors alongside her weeping daughter and her son-in-law.

Ukrainian officers mentioned 12 areas of Ukraine have been hit by air strikes and artillery within the previous 24 hours, together with frontline areas within the east and south in addition to Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv.

Ukraine’s air defence capabilities have been considerably boosted by the provision of Nato-grade methods since late final yr, however Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has continued to plead for extra. He praised the nation’s air defence forces and rescue staff in a social media publish on Sunday, saying: “You might be our heroes.” “Each time you shoot down enemy drones and missiles, lives are saved.”

Russia late final yr launched large missile and drone strikes on Ukrainian power infrastructure, inflicting widespread blackouts all through autumn and winter. Following an early spring lull, air strikes have intensified once more as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive in an try and retake territory within the nation’s east and south.

Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, hinted on Saturday that the beginning of the counteroffensive was imminent, posting on social media that “the time has come to take again what’s ours”.

The publish included a video of troopers coaching, who pledged to “destroy” the enemy and known as upon God to “bless our decisive assault”.

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