Ukraine conflict: Kyiv attacked by kamikaze drones say officials

Kyiv has been hit by at least four explosions - with a presidential adviser blaming "kamikaze drones" sent by Russia.

Several loud explosions have rocked the centre of the Ukrainian capital, as waves of explosive-laden suicide drones struck a week after Russia orchestrated a massive air strike across the country.

Kyiv city mayor Vitaliy Klichko said the central Shevchenko district of the capital had been hit, and urged residents to take shelter with an Associated Press photographer who was out shooting morning scenes of Kyiv caught one of the drones on camera, with its triangle-shaped wing and pointed warhead clearly visible against the blue sky.

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Drones came in several waves and buzzed overhead with angry hums from their engines. There was no immediate word on casualties – although social media posts showed a fire in the area of the apparent strike, with black smoke rising into the early morning light.

Local residents and police officers run after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Ukraine officials said on October 17, 2022 that the capital Kyiv had been struck four times in an early morning Russian attack with Iranian drones that damaged a residential building and targeted the central train station. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian forces struck Kyiv with Iranian Shahed drones, wrote Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, in a post on the Telegram social media site.

Moscow has repeatedly been using the so-called suicide drones in recent weeks to target urban centres and infrastructure, including power stations.

Strikes in central Kyiv had become a rarity in the last several months after Russian forces failed to capture the capital at the beginning of the war.

Last week’s early morning strikes were the first explosions heard in Kyiv’s city centre in several months, and put Kyiv as well as the rest of the country back on edge as the war nears nine months.

A drone flies over Kyiv during an attack on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Ukraine officials said on October 17, 2022 that the capital Kyiv had been struck four times in an early morning Russian attack with Iranian drones that damaged a residential building and targeted the central train station. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Monday’s blasts seemed to continue what many fear could become more common occurrences in urban centres.

The strike on Kyiv comes as fighting has intensified in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in recent days, as well as the continued Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south near Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in their latest intelligence update that Russian attacks could be a result of strained forces elsewhere.

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In their update, the MoD said: “Logistical issues faced by Russian forces in southern Ukraine have likely become more acute following damage to the Kerch Bridge on 08 October 2022. Repair efforts are ongoing, and it is open to some traffic.

"However, a large queue of waiting cargo trucks remains backed up near the crossing.

"Russian forces operating in southern Ukraine are likely increasing logistical supply flow via Mariupol in an attempt to compensate for the reduced capacity of the Kerch Bridge.

"With the Russian presence in Kherson strained, and the supply routes through Crimea degraded, the ground line of communication through Zaporizhzhia Oblast is becoming more important to the sustainability of Russia’s occupation.

"The city of Melitopol is a junction of supply routes and hosts a major Russian aviation presence.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday night in his evening address that there was heavy fighting around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk region.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions make up the bulk of the industrial east known as the Donbas, and were two of four regions annexed by Russia in September in defiance of international law.

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On Sunday, the Russian-backed regime in the Donetsk region said Ukraine had shelled its central administrative building in a direct hit.