War in Ukraine: Four killed as waves of suicide drones strike Ukrainian capital

Waves of explosives-laden suicide drones have struck Ukraine’s capital, setting buildings on fire and tearing a hole in one of them.

People rushed for shelter or tried to shoot down the kamikazes on Monday.

The concentrated use of the drones is the second barrage in as many weeks — after months where air attacks had become become a rarity in central Kyiv.

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The assault sowed terror and frayed nerves as blasts rocked the city.

Firefighters appear on the scene to put out a fire in a four-story residential building after a 'kamikaze drone' attack in Kyiv. Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Energy facilities were hit.

One drone largely collapsed a residential building, killing four people, authorities said.

Intense, sustained bursts of gunfire rang out as the Iranian-made Shahed drones buzzed overhead, apparently from soldiers trying to destroy them.

Others headed for shelter, nervously scanning the skies.

But Ukraine has become grimly accustomed to attacks nearly eight months into the Russian invasion and city life resumed as rescuers picked through debris.

Previous Russian airstrikes on Kyiv were mostly with missiles.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Monday’s barrage came in successive waves of 28 drones — in what many fear could become a more common mode of attack as Russia seeks to avoid depleting its stockpiles of long-range precision missiles.

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Five drones plunged into Kyiv itself, said Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In the Kyiv region, at least 13 were shot down, all flying in from the south, said Yurii Ihnat, a spokesman for Ukraine’s air force.

One strike appeared to target the city’s heating network, hitting an operations centre.

Another slammed into a four-storey residential building, ripping open a gaping hole and collapsing at least three apartments on top of each other.

Four bodies were recovered, including those of a woman who was six months pregnant and her husband, Mr Klitschko said.

An older woman and another man were also killed there.

One of the drones was caught on camera, its triangle-shaped wing and pointed warhead clearly visible against the blue sky.

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“The whole night, and the whole morning, the enemy terrorises the civilian population,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a social media post.

“Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine.”

He wrote: “The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us.”

Andrii Yermak, head of the presidential office, posted on social media that Shahed drones were used.

Mr Zelensky, citing Ukrainian intelligence services, has previously alleged Russia has ordered 2,400 of the drones from Iran.

Russia has rebranded them as Geran-2 drones, meaning geranium in Russian.

Iran has previously denied providing Russia with weapons, although its Revolutionary Guard chief has boasted about providing arms to the world’s top powers without elaborating.

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The drones pack an explosive charge and can linger over targets before nosediving into them.

Their blasts jolted people awake.

Snizhana Kutrakova, 42, who lives close to one of the strikes, said: “I’m full of rage. Full of rage and hate.”

The Russian military said it used “long-range air and sea-based high-precision weapons” to strike Ukrainian military and energy facilities.

They hit “all assigned targets”, Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

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