Russia fires missile at kyiv for first time in weeks, Ukraine says | ET REALITY

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Ukraine’s military said on Saturday it had shot down a Russian ballistic missile heading towards Kiev, the first such attack on the capital in weeks, while cities across the country were hit by a Russian aerial bombardment that damaged several buildings. .

Ukrainian authorities said they had also shot down 19 drones out of 31 launched by Russian forces overnight. The fate of the other 12 drones is still unclear, but local authorities reported damage in several areas following the attacks.

Two loud explosions were heard in kyiv around 8am on Saturday, and two trails of smoke were visible in the sky above the city before air raid sirens sounded. Ukrainian officials said the booms were the work of air defense systems that had destroyed the missile.

“After a long pause of 52 days, the enemy resumed missile attacks on kyiv,” said Serhii Popko, head of kyiv’s military administration. said in a statement, noting that drones also attacked the city during the night. Authorities said all drones targeting the capital had been shot down and that preliminary information did not indicate that the airstrikes had caused any damage or injuries.

It was not immediately clear what the target of the missile headed for kyiv was. The attack came after months of warnings by Ukrainian authorities that Russia would likely attack cities and target the power grid as cold weather began to take effect, predicting a repeat of last year’s winter campaign against the energy infrastructure.

Those attacks a year ago plunged Kiev into cold and darkness, with residents at times forced to rely on flashlights as local authorities planned a possible evacuation of the city.

But Saturday’s assault was relatively limited in scale, suggesting the strikes could have been part of what military analysts and Ukrainian army officials say is an effort by Russia to test Ukrainian air cover through multiple strikes, but small scale. Such strikes typically use cheap Iranian-made Shahed drones to test defenses.

In a declarationMykola Oleshchuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, congratulated the crews manning the Patriot air defense systems protecting the skies over Kiev for shooting down the ballistic missile.

But some residents questioned why the air raid sirens had sounded only after the missile had been shot down.

“It was very scary because there was no alarm and yet it was very loud,” said Maria Levchenko, 18, referring to the two explosions that were first heard in the capital.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, told national television that the alarm came later because “ballistic missiles travel extremely fast” and were difficult to detect quickly with radars.

Still, the loud explosions and alarm added to a sense of anxiety that has been growing in kyiv, as many people expect Russia to soon begin attacking Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure.

Another resident, Olena Saladi, 23, said she feared Saturday’s attack could be an omen. “Maybe it’s the beginning of a new chapter,” she said.

Last year’s Russian campaign against Ukraine’s energy systems began in mid-October. Within a month, the attacks had disabled nearly half of the country’s power grid.

Ukraine can now count on better Western-supplied air defense systems to protect its skies, and Mr. Ihnat said on friday that Germany would soon deliver an additional Patriot surface-to-air missile battery system.

But Ukraine’s energy system has not yet fully recovered from last winter’s attacks, and officials have warned that Moscow has been stockpiling weapons to hit Ukrainian cities when winter hits.

“I’m mentally preparing myself for it to be very difficult,” Saladi said.

Daria Mitiuk contributed with reports.

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