Rock Center of Ukraine Capital explosions, damaging multiple blocks – NBC Los Angeles
Waves of explosive-laden suicide drones slammed into Ukraine’s capital as families prepared to start their week early Monday, with blasts echoing across Kyiv, setting buildings on fire and sending people rushing to shelters.
The capital’s central Shevchenko district is among the affected areas, with damaged apartment buildings and a non-residential building on fire, Kyiv City Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
An Associated Press photographer who was shooting morning scenes from Kyiv captured one of the drones, its triangle-shaped wing and sharp warhead clearly visible against the blue sky. The drones arrived in waves and buzzed overhead with angry hums coming from their engines.
There was no immediate news of casualties. The targets targeted by the drones were not immediately clear, but Russian strikes last week hit infrastructure, including power plants.
The explosions came from the same central district of Kyiv where a week ago a missile hit a children’s playground and an intersection near the main buildings of Kyiv National University.
Social media posts showed a fire in the area of the apparent strike, with black smoke billowing in the early morning light.
Russian forces hit Kyiv with Iranian Shahed drones, Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, wrote in a post on social media site Telegram. Russia has repeatedly used so-called suicide drones in recent weeks to target urban centers and infrastructure, including power plants.
Strikes in central Kyiv have become rare in recent months after Russian forces failed to capture the capital early in the war. Last week’s morning strikes were the first explosions heard in downtown Kyiv for several months and have put Kyiv and the rest of the country on edge as the nine-month war approaches. Monday’s explosions appeared to continue what many fear will become more common occurrences in urban centers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week’s strikes were retaliation for the shelling of a bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland. Putin accuses Ukraine of orchestrating the explosion, which suspended traffic on the bridge and reduced Moscow’s ability to use the bridge to supply Russian troops in occupied southern Ukraine.
The strike on Kyiv comes as fighting has intensified in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in recent days, as well as the continuation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south near Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening speech last night that there was heavy fighting around the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk region. The Donetsk and Luhansk regions make up the bulk of the industrial east known as Donbass and were two of four regions annexed by Russia in September in defiance of international law.
On Sunday, the Russian-backed regime in the Donetsk region said Ukraine bombed its central administrative building in a direct hit. No casualties were reported.