KYIV, Oct 17 (Reuters) – A new wave of Russian drone and missile attacks hit a residential building and power facilities in Kyiv and caused damage in other Ukrainian cities on Monday, sending people scrambling for cover in the morning rush hour.
Three people, including a pregnant woman, were killed in the second strikes on the Ukrainian capital in a week when a “kamikaze” drone hit a brick residential building on the edge of the central Shevchenkivskyi district, the city mayor said.
Explosions and gunfire echoed as security forces tried to shoot down the drones with automatic weapons. One old woman, hobbling with difficulty, was led to safety by a police officer.
“This is already a tradition: to wake Ukrainians with missiles on Mondays,” said Alla Voloshko, a 47-year-old lawyer who took shelter in the basement of her apartment block.
Thick smoke billowed on to the street as firefighters picked through the rubble after the side of an apartment block collapsed. Rubble tumbled to the ground even as they dug.
Voloshko shook her head at the destruction, but said she had no intention to flee: “I’m calm. I’m not scared… we will stay at home, we will stay in Kyiv as long as it’s possible.”
Oleksiy, a 70-year-old retiree, said he was driving his wife to work in Kyiv when he saw reports of the blasts on his phone.
“The anger grows in me each time. I’m not scared. I’m scared for my dog,” he said.
were reported in several areas exactly a week after Russia launched the heaviest missile strikes since the early days of its Feb. 24 invasion.
“All night and all morning, the enemy terrorises the civilian population. Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Some deaths were also reported outside the capital as Russia deployed more than 40 drones, most of which were taken out by Ukrainian air defences, the interior minister told reporters. He did not give a more precise casualty toll.
ENERGY FACILITIES TARGETED
Ukraine’s national grid operator said energy infrastructure in central and northern Ukrainian regions had been hit but that the power system remained under control. It urged Ukrainians to minimise their use of electricity so as not to put more pressure on the creaking national power system.
Russia said it had hit . It has denied deliberately targeting civilians.
In Kyiv, a Reuters reporter saw pieces of a drone that had been used in the attacks and bore the words: “For Belgorod.”
The governor of the Russian region of Belgorod close to the border with Ukraine has accused Ukrainian forces of repeatedly shelling the region.
In the city of Mykolaiv in the south, a drone hit the Everi marine terminal around 10 p.m. on Sunday night, damaging sunflower oil storage tanks, and set aflame leaking oil, said Andriy, 47, a senior manager who declined to give his last name.
It took more than five hours to extinguish the flames ignited by the attack, the second on the storage facility on the Buh River since June, said Andriy.
The terminal, he said, is the largest of its kind in Ukraine involved in exporting sunflower oil, of which the country is a major producer.
“This is an entirely civilian facility. There is no military,” he said, asserting that the attacks were part of a Russian effort to “destroy the economy and to destroy food security”.