A wave of kamikaze drone attacks pummeled Kyiv early Monday, setting off warning sirens across the Ukrainian capital as commuters headed to work.
The attacks on Kyiv appear to be part of a wider assault involving drones and cruise missiles. The Ukrainian Air Force said it had destroyed 26 Iranian-made kamikaze drones in south and east of the country early Monday. The attacks in the east targeted crucial infrastructure.
Kamikaze drones, or suicide drones, are small, portable aerial weapon systems that are hard to detect and can be fired at a distance. They can be easily launched and are designed to hit behind enemy lines and be destroyed in the attack.
In Kyiv, blasts were heard as early as 6:45 a.m. local time, including one in the city’s Shevchenkivskyi district. As of 9 a.m., Kyiv had been hit four times, authorities said. One of the strikes hit close to Kyiv’s main train station, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs. Authorities have asked people to stay indoors.
“Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us. The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations. And we will get victory.”
It’s unclear how many casualties there have been, but at least two people are trapped under the rubble of a destroyed building, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Monday’s assault comes a week after Russia began an intense, two-day nationwide bombardment of Ukraine that killed at least 19 people and leveled civilian targets, drawing global outrage. The strikes also caused major damage to power systems across Ukraine, forcing people to reduce consumption during peak hours to avoid blackouts.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was no need for more “massive” strikes for now. However, a series of Russian attacks over the weekend killed 11 civilians – eight in the eastern region of Donetsk, two in the southern Zaporizhzhia region and one in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.
The city of Zaporizhzhia was attacked with kamikaze drones and missiles on Saturday, while Kyiv was hit by an apparent Russian rocket.