KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia fired 30 cruise missiles against different parts of Ukraine early Thursday in the latest nighttime test of Ukrainian air defenses, which shot down 29 of them, officials said.
One person died and two were wounded by a Russian missile that got through and struck an industrial building in the southern region of Odesa, according to Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the region’s military administration.
Loud explosions were heard in Kyiv as the Kremlin’s forces targeted the capital for the ninth time this month in a clear escalation after weeks of lull and ahead of a much-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive using newly supplied advanced Western weapons.
Debris fell on two Kyiv districts, starting a fire at a garage complex. There was no immediate word about any victims, Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv Military Administration, said in a Telegram post.
Ukraine also shot down two Russian exploding drones and two reconnaissance drones, according to authorities.
The bombardment across Ukraine included six Russian Kinzhal aero-ballistic hypersonic missiles — the most fired in a single attack in the war so far, according to Ukrainian air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat.
The missiles were launched from Russian sea, air and ground bases, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Ukrainian commander in chief, wrote on Telegram.
Several waves of missiles were aimed at areas of Ukraine between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 5.30 a.m. Thursday, he said.
Russian forces used strategic bombers from the Caspian region and apparently fired X-101 and X-55-type missiles developed during Soviet times, Kyiv authorities said. Russia then deployed reconnaissance drones over the capital.
In the last major air attack on Kyiv, on Tuesday, Ukrainian air defenses bolstered by sophisticated Western-supplied systems shot down all the incoming missiles, officials said.
That attack used hypersonic missiles, which repeatedly have been touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as providing a key strategic advantage. The missiles, which are among the most advanced weapons in Russia’s arsenal, are difficult to detect and intercept because of their hypersonic speed and maneuverability.
But sophisticated Western air defense systems, including American-made Patriot missiles, have helped spare Kyiv from the kind of destruction witnessed along the main front line in the country’s east and south.
While the ground fighting is largely deadlocked along that front line, both sides are targeting each other’s territory with long-range weapons.
Meanwhile, Kremlin-installed authorities in occupied Crimea reported the derailment of eight train cars Thursday due to an explosion.
Russian state media reported the train was carrying grain.
Quoting a source within the emergency services, state news agency RIA Novosti said that the incident occurred not far from the city of Simferopol. The Crimean Railway reported that the derailment was caused by “the interference of unauthorized persons” and that there were no casualties.
The Russia-installed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said that train services on the affected section of the line were suspended.
Also, two people were wounded in a drone attack in Russia’s southern Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, the regional governor reported Thursday.
In a Telegram post, Roman Starovoit claimed Ukrainian forces dropped an explosive device from a drone on a sports and recreation complex.