June 21, 2024

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Ukrainian military says its defences shot down 15 out of 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight.

Russia has launched several waves of drone attacks on the Kyiv, Poltava and Cherkasy regions of Ukraine, stepping up its assaults on the Ukrainian capital after several weeks of respite, according to Ukrainian officials.

“The enemy’s UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were launched in many groups and attacked Kyiv in waves, from different directions, at the same time constantly changing the vectors of movement along the route,” Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said in a message on Telegram messaging app early on Sunday.

“That is why the air raid alerts were announced several times in the capital.”

Popko said preliminary information indicated that Ukraine’s air defence systems downed 10 Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones in Kyiv and the city’s outskirts.

There were no initial reports of “critical damage” or casualties, he said.

The Ukrainian Air Force said on its official Facebook page on Sunday morning that Russia attacked the Ukrainian territories from its Kursk region.

It said air defences shot down 15 out of 20 drones that conducted the strikes.

The reports could not independently be verified and there was no immediate comment from Russia.

Intensified Russian attacks expected

Russia began carrying out strikes on Ukraine’s energy, military and transport infrastructure in October 2022, six months after Moscow’s troops failed to take over the capital and withdrew to Ukraine’s east and south.

Last winter, Russia pounded Ukraine with hundreds of missiles and drones, leaving millions without electricity, heating and water during the coldest months of the year – before easing the assaults in the summer.

After a pause of 52 days, Moscow resumed air strikes on Kyiv earlier this month. On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said all drones heading towards Kyiv were destroyed, but some hit infrastructure facilities elsewhere in Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials have warned that Russia will resume its large-scale bombardment of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure during the winter months.

In his daily video message on Saturday evening, Zelenskyy announced new steps to bolster Ukraine’s air defences in the coming weeks.

“The closer we get to winter, the greater Russia’s efforts will be to step up its attacks,” Zelenskyy said.

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