Ukrainian forces said Wednesday they had shot down an entire swarm of Iranian-made drones launched at the capital by Russian troops in their latest attack on Kyiv.
Explosions rang out over a central neighborhood in the early hours of Wednesday, the mayor said, and AFP journalists saw law enforcement and emergency service workers inspecting metal fragments at a snow-covered impact site.
“The terrorists started this morning with 13 Shaheds,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, referring to the Iran-made weapons.
“According to the preliminary information, all 13 were shot down by our Ukrainian air defence systems.”
He added that residents of the capital, which has now been subjected to nearly ten months of air raid sirens and frequent aerial attacks since Russia invaded the country in February, should stay alert to government warnings of incoming attacks.
Kyiv region officials praised the Ukrainian air defense and electronic warfare units for downing the latest wave of suicide drones.
This morning the mobile fire team of the 241 Kyiv TDF Brigade's air defense platoon departed on combat alert to repulse the Russian "Shahed" drone attack.
The Defense Forces of Kyiv destroyed 13 out of 13 enemy drones and saved the lives of Kyiv civilians. pic.twitter.com/LMS7uz1d9y
— Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces (@TDF_UA) December 14, 2022
US ambassador in Ukraine Bridget Brink said following the morning attacks that Kyiv could continue to rely on Washington’s backing.
“More support is on the way,” she wrote on Twitter.
‘Fight Through Winter’
Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on social media at 6:41 am local time (0441 GMT) that “explosions” had been heard in the central district of Shevchenkivsky and that emergency services were responding.
“Debris from downed drones hit one administrative building and four more residential buildings suffered minor damage. No one was injured,” added Sergiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv regional military administration.
Since a series of key battlefield setbacks this summer and autumn, Russia has been pummelling critical infrastructure across Ukraine with missiles and drones, plunging millions into cold and darkness in winter.
Moscow last week also targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure, piling pressure on the country’s power grid, whose operators have for weeks been forced to implement rolling blackouts.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said this week that between 40 and 50 percent of the country’s grid was out of action because of Russia’s strikes.
The latest round of attacks on Wednesday came one day after Zelensky issued urgent appeals to around 70 countries and international organizations at a Paris conference to help Ukraine withstand Russian attacks this winter.
In a video message from Kyiv, Zelensky said Tuesday that Ukraine needed assistance worth around 800 million euros in the short term for its battered energy sector.
He also said that his country needs spare parts for repairs, high-capacity generators, extra gas, and increased electricity imports.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Ukraine’s allies to provide his country with more weapons to help it “fight through the winter” and sustain Kyiv’s military advances.