- Russian drone hits central Kyiv, at least four dead
- The attack comes a week after the massive cruise missile strike
- Zelensky vows to ‘fairly punish’ Russian invaders
- Europe’s largest nuclear power plant loses power again
Kyiv, Oct. 17 (Reuters) – Russia attacked the Ukrainian city with a drone on Monday, killing at least four people in an apartment building in central Kyiv during morning rush hour and killing the second in a week. The wave of airstrikes targeted infrastructure across the country.
Ukrainian soldiers fired into the air in an attempt to shoot down a drone after an explosion in central Kyiv. An anti-aircraft rocket could be seen charging into the morning sky, followed by an explosion and orange flames, as residents scrambled to find shelter.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said a pregnant woman was among the four killed in the attack on the residential building. Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said there were also deaths in other cities, but did not give a full toll.
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Black smoke billowed from the windows of an apartment building in Kyiv as emergency services worked diligently to put out the flames.
Vitalii Dushevskiy, a 29-year-old food delivery driver, said: “I’ve never been so scared… It’s murder, it’s murder, there are no other words to describe it.”
His roommate, who gave him only his first name Nazar, said they tried to leave their apartment only to find that the stairs were “all gone”.
Nearby, Elena Mazur, 52, was searching for her mother, who managed to call her to say she was buried under rubble.
“She didn’t answer the phone,” Mazur said, hoping she had been rescued and taken to hospital.
Ukraine said the attack was carried out by Iranian-made “suicide drones” that flew at targets and detonated. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it carried out “massive” attacks on military targets and energy infrastructure across Ukraine using high-precision weapons.
“Terror must fail, and will fail, Ukraine will win,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Telegram. “And (it) will bring every Russian terrorist to justice – from commanders to private individuals who carry out criminal orders.”
Fragments of the drones used in the attack, seen by Reuters, read: “For Belgorod” – an apparent reference to Ukraine’s shelling of the Russian border area.
The airstrikes came a week after Russia’s heaviest aerial bombardment of Kyiv and other cities since the war began, and during the morning rush hour.
“It’s already a tradition: to wake Ukrainians with missiles on Monday,” said Aravoloshko, a 47-year-old lawyer who took refuge in the basement of an apartment building.
The Ukrainian military said it had destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday night, about 85 percent of those used in attacks.
A drone struck the Everi marine terminal in the southern port city of Mykolaiv on Sunday night, damaging sunflower storage tanks and setting the spilled oil on fire, officials said.
The new UN human rights chief, Austria’s Volker Turk, said drone attacks on civilians must stop.
Russia has denied targeting civilians in what it called a special military operation in Ukraine, which was launched on February 2. 24 and developed into the largest territorial annexation in Europe since World War II.
Iran on Monday again denied supplying drones to Russia. The Kremlin had no comment.
Mikhailo Podoljak, adviser to the Ukrainian president, tweeted: “Iran is responsible for the murder of the Ukrainians. The country that oppressed its own people is now supplying primitive monster (Russian) weapons for mass murder in the heart of Europe. .”
On Monday, several EU foreign ministers called for sanctions on Iran’s transfer of drones to Russia.
A Russian fighter jet crashed into a residential building in the southern Russian city of Yeysk on Monday, engulfing the apartment in flames, the regional governor said. TASS said the crash was caused by an engine fire. The RIA news agency said the plane crashed during a training flight.
Russia’s State Investigative Committee, which deals with serious crimes, said it had opened a case. There are no immediate details on casualties on the ground.
In northern Ukraine, Russia’s close ally Belarus said it would conduct live-fire exercises and anti-aircraft missile launches with Russian troops, Interfax news agency reported.
Belarus said on Sunday that nearly 9,000 Russian troops would be stationed on its territory as part of a “regional force” protecting its borders.
Elsewhere, Russian shelling near Europe’s largest Zaporozhye nuclear power plant caused the plant to be disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid again, Ukraine’s state energy company Energoatom said. It was quickly connected to a backup system.
The plant was frequently shelled during the war, occupied by Russian troops but operated by Ukrainian staff. Its reactors have been shut down for weeks, but they need electricity to keep the fuel inside cool and prevent melting.
Russia has long accused Kyiv of shelling the plant.
British military intelligence said the logistical problems were exacerbated by Russia’s bombing in southern Ukraine. The 8th caused damage to Russia’s road and rail bridge to Crimea, the peninsula occupied by Moscow in 2014.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that its forces had thwarted an attempt by Ukraine to break through its defenses in the southern region of Kherson.
With the help of Western weapons, Ukrainian forces have retaken territory in the Kherson region in a major counteroffensive over the past two months – strategically important as it links Crimea to the rest of Ukraine – and parts of the Northeast.
The Donetsk region, one of four regions that Russia unilaterally declared as Ukraine last month, will release 110 Ukrainians, most of them, on Monday, Denis Pushlin, the head of the Moscow-backed Donetsk region, said. are women to free 80 Russians. He said there were “civilian sailors” and 30 military personnel.
Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, later said 108 women, including officers, sergeants and soldiers, had been released. “Extremely emotional, very special,” he said on Telegram.
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Reporting from the Reuters office; Writing by Himani Sarkar, Gareth Jones and Nick Macfie; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Robert Bursell, Peter Graff
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