Home » Ukraine war: Russia dive-bombs Kyiv with ‘kamikaze’ drones

Ukraine war: Russia dive-bombs Kyiv with ‘kamikaze’ drones

by Mahmmod Shar

By Paul Adams in Kyiv and Merlyn Thomas in London

Russia has hit Ukraine with a wave of attacks, dive-bombing the capital, Kyiv, with what appear to be Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones.

Critical infrastructure was hit in the Kyiv, Dnipro and Sumy regions, with electricity cut in hundreds of towns and villages, the government says.

At least eight people were killed, four in Kyiv and four in Sumy.

Calls have mounted for sanctions on Iran, which continues to deny supplying drones to the Russian military.

A week ago, the Ukrainian capital was hit by Russian missiles at rush hour, part of nationwide attacks which left 19 dead.

In the latest attack, starting at around 06:30 (03:30 GMT), 28 drones targeted the capital but only five hit targets, according to the Mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko.

The city reverberated to the rattle of gunfire as anti-aircraft batteries frantically tried to shoot them down. Video on social media appeared to show one interception.

In the Shevchenkivskyi district, rescuers searched for survivors in the ruins of a block of flats that partially collapsed after one attack. The street was cordoned off as dozens of firefighters and emergency staff worked at the scene. Among the four people killed in the district was a pregnant woman.

Across the street from the ruined building, the offices of Ukraine’s energy company were also hit. The facility was probably the intended target of the strike.

Mayor Klitschko described the attacks as a “genocide of the Ukrainian people”, saying, “The Russians need a Ukraine without Ukrainians.”

The city authorities, he added, were expecting air defence systems to be delivered soon to protect the capital from further drone attacks.

“The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky, describing the attacks as “terrorising the civilian population”.

Despite an appeal from the mayor for people to seek shelter, the city’s streets were far from deserted. Between two sets of strikes, plenty of people could be seen going about their business.

A Reuters news agency journalist reported seeing fragments of a drone used in the attack that bore the words “For Belgorod”.

The Russian border city of Belgorod has been hit several times since Russia invaded Ukraine. Moscow blames Kyiv for the attacks.

In the other attacks:

  • Four people were killed when an energy-generating facility was hit in Sumy
  • In the port city of Mykolaiv, sunflower oil tanks were set on fire by three suicide drones late on Sunday evening.
Image caption,Tanks at the port city of Mykolaiv were set on fire by Russian drone attacks, according to the city’s mayor

In all of Ukraine, people are starting to recognize the low buzzing of the slow-moving drones.

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a presidential aide from Ukraine, charged Iran with being “responsible for the murders of Ukrainians.”

New sanctions against Iran are being demanded by some EU foreign ministers, including those from France and Germany, because Iran provided drones to Russia.

Josep Borrell, the head of the EU’s foreign policy, said the organization would look into Tehran’s involvement in the conflict.

Nasser Kanani, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, insisted his nation was not a “party in the war” despite mounting evidence that Iranian drones had been used, adding, “We have not supplied any weapons to the sides of the Ukraine war.”

On Sunday, Russia claimed it had used long-range air and sea-based weapons to strike Ukrainian military command facilities and energy systems “over the course of 24 hours.”

What are ‘kamikaze drones’?

  • Believed to include an Iranian-supplied weapon called the Shahed-136
  • These drones loiter above a target before attacking
  • Packed with explosives which detonate upon impact, destroying the drone
  • Often sent in waves and difficult to spot on radar
  • The US said Iran planned to send hundreds to Russia, costing just $20,000 (£17,800) each
  • Ukraine has also used ‘kamikaze drones’ – including the US-made Switchblade model
Image caption,Mayor Klitschko shared a photo of what he said were fragments of a kamikaze drone on Telegram

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week’s strikes were in retaliation for the bombing of a key bridge linking Russia to occupied Crimea, which he blamed on Ukraine.

It was the first time during the war that the centre of Kyiv had been directly targeted.

Earlier this week, Mr Putin said there was no need for more large-scale strikes on Ukraine. Most designated targets had been hit, he said, adding that it was not his aim to destroy the country.

Russia has increased the use of combat drones in Ukraine as it seeks to avoid using long-range precision missions.

Additional reporting by Hugo Bachega in Kyiv, and Elsa Maishman and Patrick Jackson in London.

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