Russia launched a missile and drone assault across Ukraine on Sunday, killing six people, according to Kyiv officials, as Moscow followed through on its pledge to respond for an attack on a Russian tanker.
Separately, Moscow’s second-largest airport momentarily paused flights early Sunday following a failed drone attack near the Russian capital.
According to Ukraine’s air force, Russia launched 70 drones and missiles from planes flying over the Caspian Sea, including Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 strike UAVs.
According to Serhiy Tyurin, deputy head of Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky region military administration, three waves of missiles hit the Starokostiantyniv district, damaging multiple structures and starting a fire at a warehouse. Officials believe the strike was targeting the city’s airstrip.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the Zaporizhzhia region’s facilities of aviation engine maker Motor Sich had also been attacked.
The Russian barrage came in response to a late Friday Ukrainian drone strike on a Russian tanker in the Black Sea near Crimea. Earlier that day, Ukraine used drones to attack a key Russian port.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned a “terrorist attack” on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait by Ukraine.
“There can be no justification for such barbaric actions; they will not go unanswered, and their authors and perpetrators will inevitably face punishment,” she wrote on the Telegram messaging service.
A Ukrainian Security Service spokesman confirmed to The Associated Press that a Ukrainian drone carrying 450 kilogrammes (992 pounds) of explosives struck the tanker hauling fuel for Russian military. Because he was not authorised to speak publicly, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Although the drone blew a hole in the tanker’s engine room, there were no deaths among the 11 crew members, according to Russia’s Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport on Telegram.
According to Vladimir Saldo, the Moscow-installed leader of the Kherson area, a Ukrainian rocket hit the Chonhar bridge connecting the Russian-occupied Kherson region and northern Crimea on Sunday, causing slight damage to the bridge’s asphalt. He also claimed that air defence forces shot down many additional missiles.
The bridge, which connects the Crimean Peninsula to the mainland, was earlier assaulted on July 22 and July 29.
According to the chief of the local regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov, two of the six murdered overnight were killed during a Russian bombing in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Four other people were hurt.
Late Saturday, a guided bomb struck a blood transfusion centre in the area’s Kupyan neighbourhood, according to Zelenskyy.
“This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy remarked on Twitter. “Defeating terrorists is a matter of honour for everyone who values human life.”
Heavy bombardment resumed along the eastern Ukrainian front line as Kiev maintained its counteroffensive. A 58-year-old lady was murdered and a 66-year-old man was injured in the Kharkiv region after Russian shelling on the village of Podoly, according to an official.
Russian missiles injured a 55-year-old man and started a forest fire in Ukraine’s eastern Kupyan district, officials claimed on social media. Russian attacks in the Donetsk region villages of Torske and Niu-York killed two civilians, according to local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko on social media.
A woman in her 80s was murdered by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-held Donetsk, according to Moscow-appointed Mayor Alexei Kulemzin. According to Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-installed president of the illegally annexed province, the bombardment also set fire to the main building of a university.
According to Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry, the fire caused the building’s roof to fall, however there were no injuries.
Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, located 15 kilometres (9 miles) southwest of the capital, temporarily halted flights on Sunday morning after a drone was shot down in the city’s airspace. It was the city’s fourth hit in a month, exposing the city’s vulnerability as Russia’s conflict enters its 18th month. According to Russia’s Defence Ministry, the drone was destroyed by air defence systems near the Moscow district of Podolsk.
It claimed no one was hurt in the failed drone strike, although Russian news source Baza later reported a 77-year-old man had a shrapnel wound on his hand. The reports were not independently verifiable.
Ukrainian authorities, who normally avoid commenting on operations on Russian territory, did not specify whether the raid was initiated by them.
Flights were last delayed at the airport on July 30, when two drones crashed into the Moscow City business district after Russian air defences intercepted them.
Ukraine also replaced the Soviet hammer and sickle that decorated the 200-foot (61-meter) Mother Ukraine statue in Kyiv on Sunday with the tryzub, the three-pronged trident that was officially accepted as the country’s coat of arms in 1992.
The transformation of one of the country’s most recognisable sites is part of a broader effort in Ukraine to restore its cultural identity from the Soviet era in the face of Russia’s continuous invasion.