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Kyiv hit with wave of suicide drones as Ukrainian capital rocked by explosions

Blasts in residential areas; no immediate reports of injuries; strike comes as EU ministers set to discuss possible Iran sanctions over supply of weapons to Russia

  • A Shahed-136 drone is seen in the sky seconds before it hit buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
    A Shahed-136 drone is seen in the sky seconds before it hit buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • A man is seen on the ground after a blast following a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
    A man is seen on the ground after a blast following a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
  • A man reacts surrounded by dust near the site of a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
    A man reacts surrounded by dust near the site of a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
  • A  Shahed-136 drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
    A Shahed-136 drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
  • Firefighters work after a drone fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
    Firefighters work after a drone fired on buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • Police block the perimeter at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022, after some explosions rocked Kyiv in the early morning. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
    Police block the perimeter at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022, after some explosions rocked Kyiv in the early morning. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • Smoke rises from a partially destroyed building in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
    Smoke rises from a partially destroyed building in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
  • Police officers check the explosion site after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)
    Police officers check the explosion site after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Russian-launched “kamikaze drones” attacked Kyiv early Monday, the Ukrainian presidency said, describing the strikes as an act of desperation exactly a week after deadly strikes on the Ukrainian capital.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the explosions, which came as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears the eight-month mark.

Andriy Yermak, the head of President’s Volodymyr Zelensky’s Office, said the Ukrainian capital was hit in a so-called kamikaze drone attack.

“We need more air defense systems and as soon as possible. We have no time for slow actions. More weapons to defend the sky and destroy the enemy. So be it,” Yermak wrote.

“The Russians think it will help them, but it shows their desperation,” he said on social media.

Zelensky last week said Iranian drones were used in Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities, although Tehran denies supplying Russia with weapons for the war. Ukraine says the Iranian-made drones are repainted and given Russian names before they are used in strikes across the country by Russia.

Police block the perimeter at the scene of Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022, after some explosions rocked Kyiv in the early morning. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

According to a US media report on Sunday, Iran is planning to ship further missiles and drones to boost Russia’s dwindling supplies.

Monday’s strike came hours ahead of a meeting of European Union ministers in Luxembourg where they were set to discuss possible sanctions for Iran over its supply of weaponry to Russia used in its attacks on Ukraine.

Western allies of Ukraine have vowed to deliver new air defenses “as fast as we can,” after Kyiv pressed them to bolster protection against Russia’s blitz.

While Israel is reportedly providing Kyiv with “basic intelligence” on the Iranian suicide drones being deployed by the Russian army, it has resisted calls from Kyiv to provide anti-missile and drone technology.

Air raid sirens had sounded shortly before the two blasts, which occurred around 6:35 am and 6:45 am (0335 GMT and 0345 GMT).

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on Telegram that the explosions were in the Shevchenkiv district which was hit in a number of Russian strikes a week ago.

“The explosion in the Shevchenkiv district – in the center of the capital. All services follow in place. Details later. The air alert continues. Stay in shelters!” Klitschko wrote.

Klitschko posted an image of what he said was the wreckage of a drone that hit Kyiv.

Video circulating on social media appeared to show smoke rising in a residential area.

Last week, the Kremlin launched what is believed to be its largest coordinated air and missile raids yet on Ukraine’s infrastructure. The wide-ranging attacks included the use of self-destructing explosive drones from Iran, and killed dozens of people.

The attacks killed at least 19 people, wounded 105 others and sparked an international outcry.

Moscow carried out further strikes on October 11, though on a smaller scale, striking energy installations in western Ukraine far from the front.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were in retaliation for an explosion that damaged a key bridge linking Russia to the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula.

Putin on Friday had expressed satisfaction and said there was no need for further massive strikes on Ukraine “for now.”

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