Russia launched over three dozen drones at Kyiv early Sunday, causing explosives to reverberate across the Ukraine capital and surrounding region for around two hours and debris to fall across multiple city districts, according to Ukrainian officials.
Explosions from air defences engaging targets lit up the night sky, and bangs echoed throughout the city. At least one smoke plume was seen rising from between buildings.
Liudmyla, a Kyiv resident, said she heard the buzzing of the Iranian-made drones before a blast wave broke her building’s windows and the jars on her ledge. “It was a very frightening experience – I can’t even put it into words.”
According to the state emergency service, debris fell in three different areas, but there was no major damage. Officials in Kyiv also reported four injuries.
The midnight strikes, according to Regional Governor Ruslan Kravchenko, damaged an undisclosed infrastructure site and eight dwellings.
Ukraine’s air force said it destroyed 26 of Russia’s 33 drones, all of which targeted Kyiv and the surrounding region.
Russia made no immediate response to the attacks. Moscow has carried out regular air assaults on Ukrainian civilian centres distant from the 18-month-old invasion’s eastern and southern front lines.
According to Ukrainian officials, a Russian attack killed 15 people in the eastern Ukraine city of Kostiantynivka on Wednesday. The incident killed fifteen people, including a kid, and occurred in the middle of the day on a popular market street.
Kostyantynivka is located near the fighting lines in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. Social media videos show a bright orange explosion towards the end of a street where people were shopping. Russia has yet to respond to the attack.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who has blamed Moscow, has stated those killed were “people who did nothing wrong” and has warned that the death toll could rise further.
Dealing with Russia, he claimed, entailed turning a blind eye to evil’s audacity. Thirty-six persons are said to have been hurt. A market, pharmacy, and shops were all reportedly impacted, culminating in a now-contained fire.
Footage and photographs circulating on the internet appeared to depict the explosion and its horrific aftermath.
Initial reports stated that 17 individuals were killed, but this was later changed to 16 and then to 15, according to officials, after bodies were identified.
It was one of the biggest attacks on Ukrainian citizens since the spring, and it happened at 14:00 local time (12:00 BST) when people swarmed to market stalls and café terraces.
Ihor Klymenko, Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said a few hours later that the search and rescue operation was concluded. Diana Khodak, a neighbourhood shopkeeper, remembered seeing a “flash” of light and telling coworkers and customers to “lie on the floor.”
She later claimed seeing soldiers carrying a woman who “had an open fracture and her bone was sticking out from her leg” to the news agency Reuters.
Mr Zelensky called the act “utter inhumanity,” while his wife, Olena Zelenska, called it “horrific cruelty.” Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has begun an investigation, saying it is looking into “criminal proceedings for violation of the laws and customs of war.”
“Prosecutors are taking all appropriate and possible measures to record war crimes committed by the Russian Federation,” the statement continued. Russia’s officials have yet to respond to the strike. They have previously denied targeting civilians as part of their operation.
Kostyantynivka Ukraine sits close to the battlefield and has been hit on various occasions this year as a result:
- On 2 April: Six civilians were killed, with missiles and rockets damaging 16 apartment blocks and a nursery school
- On 13 May: Two people – including a 15-year-old old girl – were killed in an attack using Smerch rockets that hit high-rise buildings, houses, a petrol station, a pharmacy and shops
- On 24 July: Three children were killed in an attack, which Ukraine said Russian forces used cluster munitions to carry out
It is also about 17 miles (27km) from the city of Bakhmut – in the Donetsk region as well – where fighting is known to have been intense for some time.
Since 2014, Russia’s proxy government have dominated Donetsk, accusing Ukrainian forces of targeting it.
The attack on Wednesday coincided with a visit to Ukraine by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who met with Mr Zelensky and other officials.
Sirens rang across the country in the hours leading up to his arrival, and Kyiv’s air defence system was busy intercepting missiles intended at the city.
Mr Blinken used his visit to Kiev, his fourth in 18 months, to unveil yet another US aid package for the war-torn Ukraine. He stated that it is worth more than $1 billion (£799.6 million).