Russia-Ukraine war: Putin talks ‘unified’ defense with Belarus during visit to capital

Credit…Sergei Supinsky / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Kyiv, Ukraine – Explosions erupted before dawn Monday in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities as officials said Russia had launched another drone strike against power plants and other key infrastructure.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it had shot down 20 of the 35 drones Russia had launched, although those that evaded air defenses had hit power plants, power systems and other civilian targets.

At least four loud explosions were heard in the capital, Kyiv, where residents rushed to take shelter. While most of the drones that flew in the airspace over the city were shot down by Ukraine’s air defenses, officials said, those that did hit a power plant, causing additional power outages electric in Kyiv, which has already been subject to continuous movement. shut down due to the Russian strikes.

“There is damage,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement. “Energy and heating engineers are working to quickly stabilize the situation with the supply of energy and heat.”

In the afternoon, Mr. Klitschko said heat had been restored to all but 3 percent of the two million people still living in the city.

As a dogfight between Russian drones and Ukrainian fighter jets and air defense missiles was heard in the skies above the capital overnight, officials in two other central and southern Ukrainian regions, Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv, also reported the appearance of drones late Sunday night and early Monday.

The drones used in Monday’s attacks came from a new batch of Iranian-made Shaheds received by Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said. He cited these details in an address to European leaders gathered in Latvia in which he called for more support for Ukraine’s air defenses. Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since the invasion of Ukraine, US officials have said the first shipment was delivered in August.

As of 5 a.m., authorities had lifted the air strike alert for all Ukrainian provinces except Kyiv and the surrounding region.

Russia has launched waves of missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s power plants, substations and transmission lines since October in what military analysts say is an effort to plunge the country into darkness and cold as winter sets in. Last week, the attacks appeared to be taking place in the dark as Russian forces tried to evade Ukrainian defenses.

The latest attack began late Sunday, shortly before midnight. Vitaliy Kim, the regional governor of Mykolaiv, posted on Telegram that Iranian-made Shahed drones used by Russia were flying into the area. “We have mopeds,” said Mr. Kim wrote, using the nickname Ukrainians have adopted for the small, whirring engine that powers the drones.

By morning, however, there were no reports that the drones had hit targets in the Mykolaiv region, which is in southern Ukraine.

Oleksiy Kuleba, the military governor of Kyiv region, the administrative district around the capital, said the drones had hit “infrastructural objects and private houses”. Three people were injured in the strikes, according to the regional police.

South of Kyiv, along the banks of the Dnipro River, more drones flew toward towns and cities in the Dnipropetrovsk region, where military administrator Valentyn Reznichenko said air defenses had shot down two Shahed. A rocket attack in the region cut power to water pumps, depriving several villages of running water, Mr. Reznichenko said.

Ukraine’s national nuclear power company, Energoatom, said one of the Iranian drones had flown over the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which is about 70 miles north of the city of Mykolaiv, shortly after the midnight In a statement, the company described it as “an absolutely unacceptable violation of nuclear and radiological safety”.

Maria Varenikova provide reports

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