Sirens wail in Kyiv, governor says drone attack underway

Sirens wail in Kyiv, governor says drone attack underway

Drone strike forces Kiev residents to take shelter Follows biggest airstrike of war a day earlier Both sides on Ukraine’s eastern frontline are still dug in

KYIV, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kiev were urged to head to air raid shelters early on Friday as sirens wailed across the city, a day after Russia launched its biggest airstrike since the war began in February .

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., the Kyiv city government issued an alert on its Telegram messaging app channel about air raid sirens and urged residents to take shelter.

Olekskiy Kuleba, the governor of the Kiev region, said on Telegram that a “drone attack” was underway.

A Reuters witness 20 km (12 miles) south of Kiev heard several explosions and the sound of anti-aircraft fire.

Kiev officials said five Iranian Shahed drones were detected in the air and destroyed.

An administrative building was partially destroyed, said Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s military-civilian administration, but there were no reports of casualties yet.

Kiev says Iran is supplying Moscow with drones for its airstrikes, but Tehran says it last sent drones to Russia before the start of the war.

The report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Friday morning said that Russia had carried out 85 missile attacks, 35 airstrikes and 63 attacks by multiple missile launch systems in the past 24 hours.

He said Moscow’s forces also bombed 20 settlements around the bombed city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where some of the heaviest fighting is taking place, and more than 25 settlements in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said most of the regions hit by Thursday’s massive airstrike suffered power outages.

Areas where power loss was “particularly difficult” included the capital Kiev, Odesa and Kherson in the south and surrounding regions, and around Lviv near the western border with Poland, Zelenskiy said.

“But this is nothing compared to what could have happened if it were not for our heroic anti-aircraft gunners and air defense,” Zelenskiy said.

Reuters footage on Thursday showed emergency workers searching through the rubble of houses in Kiev destroyed by an explosion and smoke from rockets billowing into the sky. Officials had said earlier that more than 120 rockets were fired during Thursday’s attack.

More than 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure installations were destroyed in the latest attacks, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Waves of Russian airstrikes in recent months targeting energy infrastructure have left millions without power and heating in often freezing temperatures.

The United States announced last week about $2 billion in additional military aid, including the Patriot air defense system, which provides protection against aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles.


Britain said on Friday it has given Ukraine more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 kits to defuse bombs and help clear minefields.

“Russia’s use of landmines and targeting of civilian infrastructure underline the shocking cruelty of Putin’s occupation,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.

“This latest package of UK support will help Ukraine safely clear land and buildings as it reclaims its rightful territory.”

The metal detectors, made by German firm Vallon, can help troops clear safe routes on roads and paths by helping to eliminate explosive hazards, the defense ministry said, while the kits can disarm the fuse from unexploded bombs.

Wallace said on Thursday that Britain would allocate 2.3 billion pounds ($2.77 billion) to Ukraine in military aid in 2023, matching the amount it has given this year.


Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying cities, towns and the country’s power, medical and other infrastructure.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation” against what it perceives as a threat to its security.

Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as an imperialist-style land grab and imposed sanctions in an attempt to halt the campaign.

The 11-month-old war has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, left cities in ruins and rocked the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.

The fiercest fighting is in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which together make up the industrial region of Donbass. Russia claimed in September to have annexed them, along with the southern provinces of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, but does not fully control either.

($1 = 0.8290 pounds)

Reporting by Reuters bureau; Writing by Grant McCool and Michael Perry; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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