Russia struck Kyiv early Monday morning with a wave of “kamikaze” drones, killing at least three people in the second set of coordinated airstrikes over the past week.
Buildings were set ablaze as a successive wave of 28 drones fell, sending frantic residents scrambling to find shelter as drones struck central Kyiv.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that five of the 28 drones hit the capital city, with one appearing to target the city’s heating network and another tearing through a four-story apartment building.
Several residences inside the apartment building collapsed on top of each other, killing at least three people, including a pregnant woman.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said that 19 people were rescued from inside the building. Officials say additional deaths have been reported in other cities as a result of the attacks, but have not shared how many.
“The whole night, and the whole morning, the enemy terrorizes the population,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media. “Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine.”
“The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us,” he added.
Andriy Yermak, the president’s chief of staff, called on the West to step up and supply Ukraine with greater air defense systems.
“We have no time for slow actions,” Yermak wrote online.
The attacks included Iranian-made drones, which fly to their target and detonate. Ukraine has accused Moscow of increasingly using “suicide drones” to avoid depleting their stockpile of long-range precision missiles. In recent weeks, Russia has used this style of drone to target urban centers and infrastructure like power stations.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani denied that Iran provided drones to Russia.
The US Embassy in Kyiv condemned the drone strikes, calling the attacks “desperate and reprehensible.”
Russia has denied targeting civilians, though Defense Ministry spokesman Ignor Konashenkov said that the airstrikes had hit “all designated targets.”
During his daily briefing, Konashenkov insisted that Russia troops had stopped Ukrainian forces from advancing in both the Donetsk and Kherson regions. Both areas are parts of Ukraine that the Kremlin falsely claimed to have annexed last month.
The early morning attack comes a week after Russia released a deadly barrage across at least 14 regions that targeted civilians as well as military and energy facilities. It was Russia’s heaviest aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities since the start of the war.
The two aerial attacks both took place during the early morning rush hour.
Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday evening, totaling about 85 percent of the drones involved in the attacks.
The United Nations Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk of Austria, called for the end of drone attacks on civilians, all while Russia continues to deny targeting civilians as it now enters the eighth month of its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
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