Ukraine’s Kyiv region hit by Iranian-made suicide drones


The Ukrainian capital region was hit by Iranian-made suicide drones early Thursday morning, sending rescue workers rushing to the scene.

A strike near Makrariv, a small town 50 km west of Kyiv, destroyed critical infrastructure.

Across the capital region, residents whose lives had returned to some degree of normalcy when the war moved east months ago woke up again to the sound of air raid sirens.

It was unclear whether the explosive-packed drones had caused any casualties. Ukrainian officials said 13 people were killed and 37 injured over the past day in Russian missile strikes that targeted nine regions of Ukraine.

The Russian military resumed widespread attacks in Ukraine on Monday following an explosion that damaged the Kerch Bridge, a 12-mile span that connects Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula.

The 12-mile span carries significance as a symbol of Moscow’s might and carries military supplies from Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Police inspect the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine earlier this week (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament said Thursday that Russian forces had struck more than 70 energy facilities in Ukraine this week. He threatened an “even harsher” response to future attacks by the “Kyiv regime”, although Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the attack on the bridge.

“All the organizers and perpetrators of the terrorist attacks must be found; those who resist must be destroyed,” State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on Telegram.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said a massive barrage of missile strikes across Ukraine was in retaliation for what he called Kyiv’s “terrorist” actions targeting the Kerch Bridge.

Mr Putin promised a “tough” and “proportionate” response to Ukrainian attacks that threatened Russia’s security.

Kyiv was hit at least four times in massive strikes on Monday, which killed at least 19 people and injured more than 100 across the country.

Russian forces have made morning attacks a daily occurrence in southern Ukraine as the Ukrainian military wage a counteroffensive aimed at retaking occupied areas.

In the southern city of Mykolaiv, nighttime shelling destroyed a five-storey building as fighting continued along Ukraine’s southern front.

Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim said an 11-year-old boy was pulled from the rubble after six hours and rescue teams were looking for seven other people.

He said the building was hit by an S-300 missile, a type usually used to target military aircraft but which the Russian military appears to be increasingly using for inaccurate ground strikes.

Ukraine’s military said its current air defenses shot down dozens of incoming Russian missiles and Shahed-136 drones, the so-called suicide bombers that have played an increasingly deadly role in the war.

Ukraine’s air force command said on Thursday that its air defense shot down six Iranian drones from the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions overnight.

Ukrainian officials said Iranian instructors based in occupied parts of Ukraine trained Russians in the use of drones.

Some NATO allies pledged this week to send advanced weapons to Ukraine, including air defense systems that the Kyiv government says are essential to defeating invading Russian forces.

Britain said on Thursday it would supply missiles for the Nasam advanced anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine in the coming weeks. It is also sending hundreds of additional aerial drones for intelligence gathering and logistical support, as well as 18 additional artillery howitzers.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said “these weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies against attack and bolster its overall missile defense alongside US Nasams.”

The systems, which Kyiv has long wanted, will provide medium and long-range defense against missile attacks.

The engagement came as NATO defense ministers headed a meeting in Brussels of the Western military alliance’s secretive nuclear planning group.

NATO plans to hold a nuclear exercise next week amid concerns over Mr Putin’s insistence that he would use any means necessary to defend Russian territory, including the illegally annexed regions of Ukraine.

NATO is keeping a cautious eye on Russia’s moves, but has so far seen no change in its nuclear stance. Russia is expected to hold its own nuclear drills soon, perhaps at the same time as NATO or soon after, according to NATO diplomats.

Kazakhstan Russia Turkey
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet on the sidelines of a regional summit in Astana, Kazakhstan (Vyacheslav Prokofyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The day before, UN officials had expressed hope that the meeting would lead to an extension of agreements that would lead to the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports and allow Russia to ship fertilizers.

“We are determined to transport Russian grain and fertilizers to underdeveloped countries via Turkey,” Erdogan said, adding that Ankara and Moscow could jointly designate which countries the products would go to.

The war in Ukraine has created food shortages and price hikes by slowing shipments of agricultural products.


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