kyiv, Ukraine (HPD) — Waves of explosive-laden suicide drones struck Ukraine’s capital as families prepared to start their week Monday morning. The explosions echoed throughout the city, starting fires and causing people to run to shelters.
One of the targeted areas was the central Shevchenko district, where several apartment blocks were damaged and a fire broke out in a non-residential building, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
An Associated Press photographer who had been out shooting morning scenes in kyiv snapped a photo of one of the drones, clearly visible against the blue sky. The hum of their engines could be heard in successive waves of attacks.
There were no reports of casualties at first. It was not clear what the purpose of the drones was, but in the last week there have been Russian attacks on infrastructure such as power plants.
Several witnesses shared videos of drones flying over the clear skies of kyiv in the morning. In one of them shots could be heard, apparently from someone trying to shoot down the aircraft.
Explosions were heard in the same downtown district where a missile tore a hole in a playground a week ago.
Russian forces hit kyiv with Iranian Shahed drones, Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office, wrote on the Telegram messaging platform. Russia has used so-called suicide drones in recent weeks to attack urban centers and infrastructure such as power stations.
Attacks in central kyiv had become a rarity in recent months after Russian forces failed to take the capital early in the war. Last week’s attacks were the first explosions to be heard in central kyiv for months, and put the city, as well as the rest of the country, on edge as the war neared its nine-month mark. Monday’s blasts appeared to continue attacks in urban centers, which many feared could become more frequent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week’s attacks were in retaliation for the explosion on a bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula with the Russian mainland. Putin blames Ukraine for planning the attack, which disrupted traffic across the bridge and limited Moscow’s ability to use the road to supply Russian troops in occupied southern Ukraine.
In recent days, fighting has intensified in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, while Ukraine continues its counter-offensive in the south near Kherson and Zaporizhia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address last night that there was heavy fighting around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk region.
Donetsk and Luhansk make up most of the eastern industrial region known as Donbas, and are two of the regions annexed by Russia in September against international law.
The Russian-backed government in the Donetsk region said on Sunday that Ukraine had attacked its main administrative building in a direct hit. No casualties were reported.