18 Oct 2022

Multiple explosions in Kyiv as Ukraine reports kamikaze drone strikes

12:09 am on 18 October 2022
KYIV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 17: Firefighters conduct work in a destroyed building after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. It was reported that two separate explosions occurred in Kyiv due to the attacks carried out by the Russian forces in the early hours of the morning. Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Metin Aktas / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

Firefighters carry out work in a destroyed building after Russian attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine on October 17, 2022. Photo: AFP

Russia has hit Ukraine with a wave of attacks, including Iranian-made "kamikaze" drones on the capital, Kyiv.

The strikes hit critical infrastructure in three regions, cutting off electricity in hundreds of villages across the country, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.

Several people have been killed, says the Ukrainian interior minister.

A week ago, the capital was hit by Russian missiles at rush hour, part of nationwide attacks which left 19 dead.

Shmygal said the Russian strikes had hit regions of Kyiv, Dnipro and Sumy with strikes.

Russia said it had hit "all designated targets" in the latest attacks, confirming that Ukraine's "military command facilities and energy system" had been targets.

Four people were killed after an energy-generating facility was hit in the north-eastern Sumy region, according to Ukraine's Deputy Interior Minister, Yevhan Yenin.

"Russia is hunting for all energy-related facilities," Yenin warned, "They want to cause chaos in the energy industry."

"It shows their desperation," said Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's staff.

And in the port city of Mykolaiv, sunflower oil tanks were set on fire by the suicide drones, said the city's mayor, Oleksandr Senkevich.

Senkevich said three drones ignited the tanks at Mykolaiv late on Sunday evening, hours before the attack in Kyiv.

A Ukrainian air force official said since last night, 37 drones had been destroyed, which had all flown into the country from the south.

A man falls on the ground following a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

A man falls to the ground following one of the drone attacks on Kyiv. Photo: AFP

Monday's attacks in Kyiv were from drones - the low buzzing of these slow-moving weapons is becoming familiar across the country.

The city reverberated to the rattle of gunfire as anti-aircraft batteries frantically tried to shoot them down. Video on social media appeared to show one interception.

The explosions on Monday began at about 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT). The most recent was at about 08:10 local time.

Two were close to the city centre, with sirens and car alarms heard across the area.

"The enemy can attack our cities, but it won't be able to break us," said President Zelensky, describing the attacks as "terrorising the civilian population".

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko described the attacks as a "genocide of the Ukrainian people. The Russians need a Ukraine without Ukrainians."

Klitschko said that the city authorities were expecting soon the arrival of air defence systems to protect the capital from drone attacks.

What was being targeted is hard to determine. The mayor's office said residential and non-residential buildings had been hit. Railway officials say explosions were seen close to Kyiv's main station.

Smoke rises from a partially destroyed building in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Smoke rises from a partially destroyed building in Kyiv on 17 October, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: AFP

One Reuters journalist reported seeing fragments of a drone used in the attack that bore the words, "For Belgorod".

The Russian border city of Belgorod has been hit several times since Russia invaded Ukraine. Moscow blames Kyiv for the attacks.

Two gunmen - who had volunteered to fight in Ukraine - killed 11 people on Saturday at a Russian military training camp in the Belgorod region.

Recent attacks in Ukraine have targeted the country's energy infrastructure. It will be surprising if that is not the case again.

Writing on the Telegram social media site, Klitschko said there were four strikes in Kyiv, although residents heard five or six explosions. He also told people to stay in air raid shelters.

But despite the warnings, the streets are far from deserted. Between the first and second set of strikes, plenty of people seemed to be going about their Monday morning business.

Yermak described the kamikaze attacks as Russia's "death throes" and said Ukraine needed more air defence systems "as soon as possible".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week's strikes were in retaliation for the bombing of a key bridge linking Russia to occupied Crimea, which he blamed on Ukraine.

It was the first time during the war that the centre of Kyiv had been directly targeted.

Earlier this week, Putin said there was no need for more large-scale strikes on Ukraine.

Most designated targets had been hit, he said, adding that it was not his aim to destroy the country.

What are 'kamikaze drones'?

  • Believed to include an Iranian-supplied weapon called the Shahed-136
  • These drones loiter above a target before attacking
  • Packed with explosives which detonate upon impact, destroying the drone
  • Often sent in waves and difficult to spot on radar
  • The US said Iran planned to send hundreds to Russia, costing just US$20,000 (NZ$35,714) each


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