The capital awoke Wednesday to explosions and the sounds of drones, with authorities warning residents to stay in shelters until air alerts end. It was the most significant wave of drone attacks on Kyiv since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, RFE/RL’s Georgian Service reports.
The army said it repelled Iraninan-made Shahed-136 drones launched from the Sea of Azov through the Black Sea aimed at the Odesa region. “The enemy’s obvious target was the port and industrial infrastructure of the region,” the Operational Command South wrote on Telegram. “Air defense forces worked non-stop for almost 3 hours.”
In Odesa, the drones and missiles struck apartment buildings, warehouses, a grain elevator, and other facilities, leaving them on fire and damaging structures. In some cases, debris fell on people and destroyed vehicles. “A woman in the Holosiiv district went out onto her balcony to watch drones being shot down and was killed by a flying piece of metal,” Odesa’s mayor Vitali Klitschko told residents. The city’s governor, Oleh Kiper, said dozens of drones and missiles were fired at the port, including several Oniks and Kh-22s that hit a seaside resort, warehouses, grain facilities, and oil terminals, causing fires.
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He added that one of the missiles created a massive crater in another part of Odesa, showering the area with shattered glass and other debris. At least two civilians were injured, including a 9-year-old boy. The region’s governor also reported that a Ukrainian military ship and three vessels anchored off the coast were targeted. “All berthing units of the Odesa Port were under attack,” he said, adding that “it is impossible to work the shipyard and all the other enterprises.”
Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat said that fighter aircraft and mobile air defense systems had been used to destroy the drones. He did not say what systems were deployed, but Ukraine has a mix of U.S.-made NASAMS and Stinger portable anti-drone systems and more expensive Patriots systems supplied in an aid package.
France condemned the drone strikes as a flagrant violation of international law. They “cannot go unpunished,” the French foreign ministry said.
The attacks come as the world commemorates a year since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has claimed over 10,000 lives and damaged Ukraine’s economy and energy sector. Kyiv accuses Moscow of committing war crimes, while Russia insists its actions are militarily legitimate.