Russia targets Ukraine’s capital with barrage of drones
By Constant Méheut
Ukraine’s military said on Sunday that it had foiled a large Russian drone attack on the capital, Kyiv, overnight, the latest barrage in a campaign intended partly to destroy military and energy infrastructure but also apparently aimed at terrorizing and demoralizing the local population.
The military said it shot down 26 of the 33 drones launched at the capital. The fate of the other seven drones was unclear. Blast waves and falling debris wounded four people and damaged dozens of houses and residential buildings, according to local military authorities. The reports have not been independently verified.
“Drones entered the capital in groups and from different directions,” Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said as he thanked the troops staffing the capital’s air-defense systems, which have proved increasingly effective at downing most of the Russian drones and missiles targeting Kyiv.
Since beginning its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than 18 months ago, Russia has regularly unleashed large-scale barrages of missiles, rockets and drones on Kyiv. Last week, the region experienced one of the most significant barrages in months, with a combination of cruise missiles and drones fired at the capital. Ukrainian officials said that two people had been killed by falling debris.
Sunday’s attacks followed an increasingly familiar pattern of dueling aerial assaults, in which areas of Ukraine and Russia are both targeted nearly simultaneously.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its army had downed a Ukrainian drone over the Bryansk region, close to the Ukrainian border. It also said that eight Ukrainian drones were shot down by air defenses over the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
The Russian claims could not be independently verified. Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the attack on the Bryansk region, as is their general custom on attacks inside Russia.
In addition to targeting Kyiv, Russia has also directed many of its drone attacks on Ukrainian grain and port facilities near the Danube River in recent months. Ukraine has used the waterway as an alternative route to export grain since Russia pulled out of an agreement that allowed Ukrainian agricultural shipments through the Black Sea.
The attacks on the Danube facilities are seen as an attempt by Russia to tighten its stranglehold on the Ukrainian economy. But they have also come perilously close to Romania, a NATO member, raising fears that a Russian drone or missile flying a short distance off course could risk dragging the Western military alliance into a direct military confrontation with Russia.