Russia launches kamikaze drone attack on Kyiv, killing at least three

The strikes appear to be part of a wider assault involving drones and cruise missiles
Originally Published: 17 OCT 22 04:33 ET
Updated: 17 OCT 22 06:58 ET

(CNN) — Russia launched a barrage of kamikaze drone attacks in Kyiv on Monday, killing at least three people and setting off warning sirens across the Ukrainian capital as commuters headed to work.

Four people were injured in the attacks and 19 people trapped under the destruction have been rescued, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official working for Ukraine’s president.

The strikes on Kyiv appear to be part of a wider assault involving drones and cruise missiles. The Ukrainian Air Force said it had destroyed 37 Iranian-made kamikaze drones and three cruise missiles in the south and east of the country early Monday. The attacks in the eastern regions of Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy targeted crucial infrastructure.

The attacks damaged energy infrastructure in central and northern regions of Ukraine, but the power grid was “under control,” the state energy utility Ukrenergo said in a statement on Facebook. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal asked citizens to reduce power consumption, especially during peak hours, to help stabilize the country’s electricity system.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday said it had launched high-precision weapons at military energy targets across Ukraine aimed military and energy targets.

In Kyiv, blasts were heard as early as 6:45 a.m. local time, including one in the city’s Shevchenkivskyi district. Kyiv was hit five times, Shmyhal said. One of the strikes hit close to Kyiv’s main train station, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs. Authorities have asked people to stay indoors.

“Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us. The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations. And we will get victory.”

Kamikaze drones, or suicide drones, are small, portable aerial weapon systems that are hard to detect and can be fired at a distance. They can be easily launched and are designed to hit behind enemy lines and be destroyed in the attack.

It’s unclear how many casualties there have been, but one person was found dead under the rubble of a destroyed building in Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Another remains trapped, Klitschko said.

Vitalii, a Kyiv man in his 20s, witnessed one attack after he had just arrived at a railway station.

“We saw a flash and an explosion. We went to the basement,” said Vitalii, who declined to give last name for safety reasons.

Vitalii and others sought shelter for about two hours. When the coast appeared clear, they attempted to leave — only to see another blast. Vitalii said he and others recognized the triangular shape of the Iranian-made drone and how it buzzed.

“There was another explosion,” he said. “Everyone went back to the basement. People were running, screaming. There was panic. People were scared because they didn’t understand what was going on.”

Once the situation eventually calmed after the second blast, Vitali took a taxi and left.

Monday’s assault comes a week after Russia began an intense, two-day nationwide bombardment of Ukraine that killed at least 19 people and leveled civilian targets, drawing global outrage. The strikes also caused major damage to power systems across Ukraine, forcing people to reduce consumption during peak hours to avoid blackouts.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was no need for more “massive” strikes for now. However, a series of Russian attacks over the weekend killed 11 civilians — eight in the eastern region of Donetsk, two in the southern Zaporizhzhia region and one in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

The city of Zaporizhzhia was attacked with kamikaze drones and missiles on Saturday, while Kyiv was hit by an apparent Russian rocket.

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