May 26, 2024

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Ukrainian officials say Russia is launching the largest drone attack on Kiev since the beginning of the war

Ukrainian officials say Russia is launching the largest drone attack on Kiev since the beginning of the war

Kyiv, Ukraine

On Saturday, Russia launched its largest drone attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, since the start of its invasion, according to local officials.

“Nearly 75 drones were launched from two directions – Primorsko-Akhtarsk and Kursk region of Russia. “The primary target was the city of Kiev,” the Ukrainian Air Force said in a post on the Telegram app, describing the attack as a “record number” of drones.

It said air defenses intercepted 71 Iranian-made drones across six regions of Ukraine – but the vast majority of the drones were intercepted in the Kiev region.

The Air Force said, “Anti-aircraft missile forces, tactical aviation, mobile fire groups, and electronic warfare units participated in repelling the air attack.” It added that a Kh-59 guided missile was also destroyed in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Mykhailo Shamanov, spokesman for the military administration of the city of Kiev, described several waves of drones coming from different directions towards the capital.

A CNN producer in Kiev heard loud explosions and repeated booms as drones flew overhead. The city’s military administration warned residents to take cover, saying: “A large number of hostile drones are entering Kiev from different directions! We urge you to remain in shelters until the alarm sounds!”

This is the fourth drone attack on Kiev this month, according to Shamanov.

At least two people were injured in the Solomyansky district of Kiev, according to Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Klitschko said several locations in the Solomyansky district caught fire, including a residential building and other non-residential buildings.

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He added that the second floor of a five-storey residential building in the Solomyansky district was damaged, and that debris from the downed drones fell on two residential buildings – one in the Dneprovsky district, the other in the Holosyevsky district.

In a separate statement, Serhiy Popko, head of the military administration of the city of Kiev, said that a fire broke out in a kindergarten building after a drone was shot down in the Solomyansky district.

The country’s Energy Ministry said the latest attack on Kiev knocked out power to an overhead line, knocking out power to 77 residential buildings and 120 facilities in the city centre.

Ukrainian energy company DTEK announced later on Saturday that electricity had been restored to all Kiev residents.

Last winter, Russia carried out a sustained campaign of missile and drone attacks to cripple Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The city of Khmelnytskyi, in western Ukraine, has become a regular target of attacks, as shock waves from explosions have damaged infrastructure in the area, including the nuclear power plant.

“Powerful explosions” rocked the area near the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant last month, with shock waves shattering windows and temporarily cutting off power to some off-site radiation monitoring stations, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. IAEA experts at the station were also informed that two drones had been shot down close to the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the incident “once again highlighted the risks to nuclear safety and security during the ongoing military conflict.”

While there are still energy concerns in the country this winter, DTEK has spent the past seven months restoring infrastructure, trying to boost production and strengthen defenses at its facilities.

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“We recovered what could be recovered, purchased spare equipment and installed defenses around the power plants,” said Maxim Timchenko, CEO of DTEK. He told CNN earlier this month.

According to the Deputy Head of Ukrainian Defense Intelligence, Vadim Skibitsky, attacks on the country’s energy grid will be difficult for Russia to carry out this time.

Citizens are also preparing for the possibility of a power grid outage. A company that installs energy storage systems nationally has seen a spike in demand as people look for off-grid solutions, while businesses buy secondary generators and batteries.