Russian largest drones attack on Ukraine on the eve of national day celebrations


KYIV (AP) As Kiev prepared to celebrate its National Day, the Ukrainian capital faced the biggest drone attack since the start of the Russian War, local officials said. At least one person was killed, but officials said a number of drones were shot down, demonstrating Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

KYIV military official Serhiy Popko said Russia launched its “maximum attack” on the city on Saturday night using Iranian-made Shahid drones. The attack lasted more than five hours and air defenses reportedly shot down more than 40 drones.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said a 41-year-old man died and a 35-year-old woman was hospitalized after a seven-story non-residential building caught fire after falling debris. Debris from a drone damaged the building of the Ukrainian Association of the Blind. On Sunday morning, a member of the organization, Volodymyr Golbenko, came to pick up my belongings. He was rescued by his son Mykola, who was trying to explain what his office looked like now, searching through the rubble for his father’s belongings.

Volodymyr Golubenko worked at this place for more than 40 years. He says it has become a home for many blind people because they come here to talk and support each other. “Without work, it’s hard to find a job now because these events [the war] have been going on since last year. At least people come here to talk,” said Volodymyr.

Like Golbenko, many in his district heard Shahed’s drones for the first time. Among them was Yana, 36, who has three boys. The family hid in the corridor all night. “Something started to explode above us. ‘Children were scared and ran here,'” Yana said.

Ukraine announced Saturday night was also a record in terms of Shahed drone attacks across the country. According to the military chief of staff, 58 of the 59 drones launched were shot down by air defense systems.

Russia has carried out repeated drone strikes against Ukraine, most of which have been shot down. Ukraine claimed earlier this month to shoot down some of Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin touts as a key competitive advantage.

In the northeastern province of Kharkiv, a 61-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in two separate grenade attacks, local governor Ole Sinievbov said.

Kiev Day marks the official founding anniversary of the city. The day is usually celebrated with live concerts, street parties, exhibitions and fireworks. A smaller celebration was planned for this year, which marks the city’s 1,541st anniversary.

Ukrainian officials said the timing of the drone strike was probably no coincidence.

“Ukrainian history has long been a nuisance that has disturbed the Russian people,” Andriy Yermak, chief adviser to the Ukrainian president, told Telegram.

“Today, the enemy has decided to ‘bless’ the Kiev people with the help of dangerous UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),” Popko wrote in the messaging app. Local officials in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia said several drones approaching the Irsky refinery were destroyed by air defense systems. The governor of the Russian-backed Luhansk region in the Far East of Ukraine, Leonid Pashchnik, said on Sunday that two people were killed in the shelling of the town of Almaznaya by Ukrainian forces.

Belgorod province in southern Russia, which borders Ukraine, was also attacked by Ukrainian forces on Saturday, local officials said. Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Sunday that a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were injured in the shelling. Drone attacks on Russian border regions have been a regular occurrence since the invasion began in February 2022, with an increase in attacks over the past month. Earlier this month, a Krasnodar refinery was hit by drones for the second day in a row.

Ukrainian air defenses, bolstered by sophisticated Western-supplied systems, were adept at repelling Russian airstrikes by both drones and missiles.

In early May, Ukraine intercepted heavy Russian airstrikes on Kiev and shot down all missiles aimed at the capital. The bombing, which also hit all of Ukraine, included six Russian Kinzhal-class hypersonic aeroballistic missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin said was a key strategic competitive advantage. It has repeatedly touted itself as one of the most advanced weapons in its arsenal.

Also on Sunday, the death toll from Friday’s missile attack on the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the regional capital of the Dnipropetrovsk province, rose to four. Locality. Governor Serhiy Raisak said three missing people have been confirmed dead. Thirty-two people, including two children, were injured in an attack on a building housing a psychology clinic and a veterinary hospital.