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Suicide planes strike fear in Ukraine's capital, 4 dead

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Waves of bomb-laden suicide drones hit the Ukrainian capital on Monday, setting buildings on fire, drilling a hole in one of them, and sending people looking for cover or trying to shoot them, as the president said was Russia’s initiative. frightening civilians.

The heavy use of Kamikaze drones was the second barrage in the past few weeks. – After months when airstrikes became rare in central Kiev. The attack instilled fear and frayed nerves as the explosions shook the city. Authorities said power facilities were hit and a drone crashed heavily on a residential building, killing four people.

Intense gunfire erupted as Iranian-made Shahed drones buzzed overhead, apparently as soldiers tried to destroy them. The others, nervously scanning the sky, headed for the bunker. But Ukraine got used to the brutal Attacking about eight months before the Russian invasionand city life resumed as rescuers swept through the wreckage.

Previous Russian airstrikes on Kiev were mostly with missiles. Analysts believe slower-moving Shahed drones could be programmed to accurately hit specific targets using GPS unless the system fails.

Also Monday, a Russian Su-34 fighter jet crashed In a residential area in Russia’s port of Yeysk in the Sea of ​​Azov, a fire started after an engine failure – killing at least four people on the ground, injuring 25 and engulfing several floors of a nine-story apartment building, officials said.

Deputy regional governor Anna Menkova said three of the victims died by jumping from the upper floors of the building to escape the flames, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency. Six more people were missing.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that both crew members were safely rescued on a training mission.

In Kiev, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Monday’s dam came in waves of 28 successive drones – which many fears could become a more common mode of attack as Russia tries to avoid depleting its stockpiles of long-range precision missiles.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said five drones had crashed in Kiev. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said that at least 13 people were shot down in the Kyiv region, all from the south.

An attack emerged targeting the city’s heating network and hit an operations center. Another crashed into a four-story residential building, creating a large hole and at least three flats collapsing. Klitschko said four bodies were found, including a 6-month pregnant woman and her husband. An old woman and another man were also killed there.

An Associated Press photographer caught one of the drones on camera, with its triangular wing and pointed warhead clearly visible against the blue sky.

“The enemy is terrorizing the civilian population all night and all morning,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a social media post. “Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine.”

Addressing the nation on television Monday night, Zelenskyy said Moscow had resorted to drones because it had lost the war.

Russia has no chance on the battlefield and is trying to make up for its military defeats with terrorism,” he said. To put pressure on us, on Europe, on the whole world.”

Zelenskyy, citing Ukrainian intelligence services, claimed that Russia ordered 2400 drones from Iran. Russia renamed them Geran-2 drones – “sardinia” in Russian. In a photo of the wreckage of one of Monday’s attacks, published by Klitschko, it was seen marked “Geran-2” on a dismembered tail fin.

Iran has previously denied supplying weapons to Russia, although the IRGC chief boasted without elaboration of supplying weapons to the world’s greatest powers.

Drones pack an explosive charge and can linger over targets before snooping on them. Their explosions shook people, including 42-year-old Snizhana Kutrakova, who lived near one of the strikes.

“I’m full of anger,” he said. “Full of anger 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 the assigned targets,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for European Union sanctions on Iran for supplying Russia with drones, and both he and Zelenskyy reiterated Ukraine’s need for air defense and weapons.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the 27-nation bloc had gathered evidence about Iran’s drone sales to Russia, and if true, “we will be ready to react with the tools at our disposal”. The EU also approved a military training program It plans around 500 million euros ($486 million) in extra funding for thousands of Ukrainian soldiers in Europe and to buy weapons for Ukraine.

Iranian-made drones have been used elsewhere in Ukraine in recent weeks against urban centers and infrastructure, including power plants. At just $20,000 per piece, the Shahed is just a fraction of the cost of high-tech missiles and conventional aircraft. The Kalibr cruise missile, widely used by Russia in Ukraine, costs the army about $1 million each.

Drone swarms also challenge Ukrainian air defense. Western countries have promised systems that can shoot down drones, but most of these weapons are yet to arrive and may be months away..

“The challenges are serious because the air defense forces and vehicles are the same as at the beginning of the war,” Air Force spokesman İhnat said. He added that some air defense weapons supplied by the West can only be used during daylight hours when targets are visible.

Russian forces have also hit energy infrastructure elsewhere, trying to increase the pressure on the Kyiv government after previous attacks disabled power supplies.

Prime Minister Shmyhal said that after the missile attacks in the Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions, hundreds of settlements were left without electricity.

Ukraine’s nuclear operator said it has again cut power to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, one of the most alarming flashpoints of Russian bombing. from the Russian occupation. The nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, needs power for critical safety systems. When the bombardment cuts off the power supply lines, the plant is forced to rely on diesel generators – a temporary stop.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there was no need for more widespread attacks on Ukraine after an earlier barrage of strikes, which he said was in retaliation for the bombing of a bridge. It unites Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula with Russia.

However, Putin also said that seven of the 29 targets identified after the bridge attack were not hit “as planned by the Ministry of Defense” and therefore Moscow forces will continue to target them. He did not elaborate.

After months of rare strikes in central Kiev, the latest attacks have again put the country and its capital under tension.

Monday’s attack on Kiev came amid fighting intensifying in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, as well as an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive near Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south. Zelenskyy said there were violent clashes around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk region on Sunday.

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

In the south, the Ukrainian air force reported shooting down nine drones in the Mykolaiv region and six in the Odessa region. The governor of the eastern Kharkiv region said night-time attacks on a city and villages killed one person and injured four.

Russia and Ukraine also completed a prisoner swap on Monday. The Russian Ministry of Defense said that 110 Russians released are 72 sailors from merchant ships held since February, 108 female Ukrainian prisoners were handed over to Kyiv authorities, and two of them want to stay in Russia. The Ukrainian side confirmed the swap, but not that the two Ukrainians decided to stay in Russia.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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