Explosive drones rock Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, hitting residential buildings: NPR

A drone is seen in the sky seconds before firing at buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 17, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


A drone is seen in the sky seconds before firing at buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 17, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

KYIV — Explosions erupted in Ukraine’s capital early Monday, a week after nationwide strikes rocked the city for the first time since June.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said five drones hit central Kyiv in the morning attack and appeared to be targeting energy infrastructure. A four-storey residential building and energy facilities near the busy Kyiv train station were damaged in the attack.

Volodymyr Grytsan was leaving the station and talking to a friend when the drones buzzed overhead. “The police started shooting at him with assault rifles and machine guns, then he suddenly turned on us and we ran underground,” he said. People were jumping over security barriers and climbing escalators with their luggage, seeking shelter.

Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said 18 people were pulled from the rubble of a residential building. Bulldozers could be seen driving past a police cordon that had been set up in the street. Smoke could be seen coming from at least two buildings.

Firefighters work after a drone fired at buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 17, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


Firefighters work after a drone fired at buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 17, 2022.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

At least four people were hospitalized and at least four people were killed in the attack, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a top emergency response adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Klitschko says two of the victims were a married couple who were expecting a child in the coming months.

“The enemy may attack our cities, but he cannot break us. The occupiers will only get just punishment and condemnation from future generations, and we will achieve victory,” Zelenskyy wrote.

Zelenskyy’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak again called on the West to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems. “We don’t have time to go slow,” he said online.

Back in Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry admitted conducting what it claimed were “long-range precision strikes” against “military objects and energy systems” in Ukraine.

In his daily briefing, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov insisted that “all designated targets” had been hit and said Russian troops had thwarted attempts by Ukrainian forces to advance in areas. from Donetsk and Kherson. Both regions are part of Ukraine, which the Kremlin claimed it annexed last month, although its forces do not control either territory.

Many Kyiv residents, including some Ukrainian NPR staff, recorded videos of Ukrainian air defense systems firing drones over the city.

Yermak said the drones were Shahed models, which have been known to crash into targets with explosive payloads. Ukraine estimates that Russia has ordered 2,400 drones from Iran, a number that exceeds Ukrainian air defense systems. As of 10 a.m. local time, the Ukrainian Air Force claims to have shot down 11 drones. Klitschko said 28 drones were detected in the Kyiv region on Monday morning.

Klitshchko posted a photo of shrapnel titled “Geran-2”, the Russian designation for Iranian drones, but he took down the photo after commenters criticized him for confirming a Russian strike.

European Union foreign ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg on Monday. Ahead of the meeting, Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, told reporters the bloc would examine “concrete evidence” of Iran’s involvement in Ukraine.

Iran has denied supplying weapons to the war.

The new Russian assault came just days after President Vladimir Putin said he saw no need for more ‘massive’ strikes against Ukraine – arguing that a wave of attacks launched last week had hit most of their targets.

Still, it has been suggested that Monday’s strikes were a response to a spate of weekend rocket attacks on the Russian border town of Belgorod that local authorities have blamed on Ukraine.

A photo widely shared on social media showed a piece of a downed drone with the words “For Belgorod” written on it.

Additional reporting by Kateryna Malofieieva.

Christi C. Elwood