Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ukraine war: Russia launches another wave of ‘kamikaze’ drones overnight

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Ukraine’s air force said on Friday morning that Russia launched 16 “kamikaze” drones overnight at targets around the country, but air defences destroyed all of them, according to officials. 

It added that the drones had been sent from the southeast and north.

Sirens wailed across Kyiv in the early hours of Friday morning, with residents urged to seek cover in air raid shelters. 

Shortly after 02:00 EET (01:00 CET) Kyiv’s governor issued an alert on social media saying that an “attack by drones” was under way. 

Witnesses 20 kilometres south of Kyiv heard several explosions and the sound of anti-aircraft fire.

Kyiv officials said five Iranian Shahed drones were detected in the air and destroyed.

An administrative building was partly destroyed, said the head of Kyiv’s civilian military administration, but there was no information yet about casualties.

Kyiv says Iran is supplying Moscow with drones for its air attacks, but Tehran says it last sent drones to Russia before the war started.

Massive bombing campaign

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Friday morning report said Russia had launched 85 missile strikes, 35 air strikes, and 63 strikes from multiple rocket launch systems in the past 24 hours.

It said Moscow’s forces also shelled 20 settlements around the bombed out town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where some of the fiercest fighting is being waged, and more than 25 settlements in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said most regions hit in Thursday’s massive air attack suffered power outages.

The areas where loss of power was “especially difficult” included the capital Kyiv, Odesa and Kherson in the south and surrounding regions, and around Lviv near the western border with Poland, Zelenskyy said.

“But this is nothing compared with what could have happened if it were not for our heroic anti-aircraft gunners and air defence,” Zelenskyy said.

Video on Thursday showed emergency workers searching through the smouldering wreckage of homes in Kyiv destroyed by a blast and smoke trails of missiles in the sky. Officials had earlier said more than 120 missiles were fired during Thursday’s assault.

More than 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure installations were destroyed in the latest attacks, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Waves of Russian air strikes in recent months targeting energy infrastructure have left millions of people without power and heating in often freezing temperatures.



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