Russia-Ukraine War Kyiv Rocked by Explosions From ‘Kamikaze’ Drones
KYIV, Ukraine — Russia attacked Ukraine’s capital early on Monday with Iranian-made drones, continuing its campaign of lethal strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets even as it faces significant setbacks on the battlefield.
At least four people were killed in Kyiv, the capital, where the buzzing sound of the drones was followed by explosions. The attacks came during morning rush hour, one week after Moscow unleashed a missile barrage across the country that left at least 19 people dead. While Monday’s strikes were less deadly, they again struck fear into Ukrainians far from the front lines and signaled Russia’s aim of crippling power and other key services as winter looms.
A separate attack in the northeastern region of Sumy killed at least three people on Monday, the regional governor said, when Russian missiles struck an infrastructure target.
The strikes in the capital highlighted Russia’s growing use of the Iranian-made drones known as “kamikazes,” which explode on impact and are easier to shoot down, as Western analysts say Moscow’s stocks of precision missiles are running low. While Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with drones for use in Ukraine, U.S. officials said that the first batch of such weapons was delivered in August. Ukraine’s Air Force said that Russia had fired 43 of the drones on Monday, but 37 were shot down by air defense systems.
Vitaly Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said that 28 drones were spotted over the city, resulting in five strikes. Ukraine’s Air Force scrambled jets to chase and shoot the drones, while some were shot down by Ukrainian troops who fired into the air. The targets included the headquarters of Ukraine’s national energy utility and a municipal heating station.
Mr. Klitschko said at least four people were killed in the strikes in Kyiv. Among the dead was a young couple, including a woman who was six months pregnant, pulled from the wreckage of a residential building, Mr. Klitschko said.
Serhiy Kruk, head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, said 18 people were wounded, including two rescue workers who were responding to an initial strike when a second hit in the same area.
Russia’s Defense Ministry
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that its forces had used “high-precision air- and sea-based weapons” to attack military targets and energy infrastructure in Ukraine. The ministry said it had hit “all designated targets,” without elaborating.
Outside a four-story building that was hit, emergency workers recovered the body of a woman from the collapsed walls. An investigator held her thin wrist, covered in dirt and debris, and then folded her arms across her chest as her body was placed in a bag.
In the attack on the municipal heating station, a drone struck near where another had hit about an hour earlier, on opposite sides of Zhylianska Street. It appeared to be what Ukrainians call a “double-tap attack,” a tactic that aims to kill emergency workers or firefighters responding to an initial strike.
In southern Ukraine, a Russian strike damaged an electrical substation, again cutting power to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, officials said on Monday. The plant’s backup diesel generators switched on, according to a statement from the Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom.
And in Vinnytsia, in central Ukraine, a strike hit a piece of critical infrastructure, the regional governor said, without providing details.
Monday’s attacks highlighted the vulnerability of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure
While the government has swiftly moved to repair the damage from last week’s attacks, the country has seen rolling blackouts, and officials have called on Ukrainians to reduce their electricity consumption.
Moscow has escalated its aerial bombardment after an explosion this month partially damaged the bridge linking Russia to Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. But Russia’s ground forces continue to face setbacks on the battlefield in eastern and southern Ukraine, although Russian troops were attacking along part of the front in the eastern Donbas region on Sunday, the Ukrainian military said.
KYIV, Ukraine — In strikes on Kyiv early in the war and last week, destruction arrived as a bolt from the blue, with missiles streaking in at tremendous speeds. Monday’s drone attack was different.
Noisy and slow-flying, the drones buzzed over the city, eerily announcing their arrival with a hum that sounded like a moped. The first explosions rang out shortly before 7 a.m., as residents were preparing for work and children were just waking up.
One drone flew low over office buildings and apartment blocks in the center of Kyiv, visible from the streets below. Soldiers at checkpoints or other positions in the city opened fire with their rifles.
Instead of heading to classrooms, children, some already dressed in their school uniforms, made their way to basements to take shelter just as they had a week ago when Kyiv came under sustained attack.
Yulia Oleksandrivna, 86, huddled in a basement with her young grandson. She said anger was too soft a word to describe how she was feeling. A retired professor, she had lived through World War II, fleeing her birthplace in Russia with her family when she was 5 and a half years old.
“The sound of the sirens that we have these days, I know this sound from my childhood,” she said. “At the start and at the end of my life, this is the music of my life.”
At least two more blasts hit at about 8:15 a.m. Thick white smoke blanketed parts of central Kyiv along with an acrid burning smell. The city stayed under an air raid alert for nearly three hours.
“I was smoking on my balcony, and one flew by,” said Vladislav Khokhlov, a cosmetologist who lives in a 13th-floor apartment. He said he saw what looked like a small metallic triangle buzz past not much higher than the rooftops, sounding like a chainsaw.
One explosion hit a residential building
. Shortly after emergency workers recovered a body from the rubble, the mayor of Kyiv stood before the damaged four-story block.
“This is the true face of this war,” said the mayor, Vitaly Klitschko.
Steps away, the body of a woman lay in a half-unzipped black body bag. An investigator held her thin wrist, covered in dirt and debris, and then folded her arms across her body.
In one area of central Kyiv, plumes of smoke from fires rose from both sides of a street. “What a horror,” said Anna Chugai, a retiree.
“Again! This is now happening all the time,” she said.
One apparent target of the strikes, a municipal heating station, appeared undamaged. Soldiers had opened fire with their rifles when the drones drew near, said Viktor Turbayev, a building manager for a department store a block away.
“They want us to freeze,”
he said of the Russians’ continued attacks against electricity, heating, and other key services. “They want us to go back to wood stoves.”
Below ground, a hushed community of families formed in the safety of subway stations, in scenes recalling the early days of Russia’s invasion in February. Mothers sat with children, playing cards. Some women lay infants to sleep on mats. For a time passing trains would wake the children and they would cry, until they fell so deeply asleep that the sound no longer bothered them.
“We started coming here with my daughter last Monday,” when Kyiv was shelled for the first time in three months, said Anastasia Havryliuk, 34. Ms. Havryliuk said she takes her daughter to work most days now, so they can dash together to a bomb shelter if the air raid sirens blare explosions rock kyiv.
“I can’t imagine her being without me in the bomb shelter,” she said. “In such a situation I always need to be with my daughter.”
High school students studied
Many people sat on the floor with laptops. Women breastfed babies and changed diapers. Cats and dogs sat on their owners’ laps. All put their lives on hold and waited for the alarm to end.
Kiev is shaken by explosions from “Kamikaze” drones during the Russia-Ukraine War.