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Ukrainian military says Russia launched largest drone attack

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KIEV, Ukraine — Russia launched its most intense drone attack on Ukraine on Saturday since its large-scale invasion began in 2022, targeting the Ukrainian capital, military officials said.

In total, Russia launched 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones against Ukraine, 74 of which were destroyed by air defense, the Ukrainian Air Force said.

“kyiv was the main target,” Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk wrote on his Telegram channel.

This is “the most massive aerial attack carried out by drones against kyiv,” said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv city administration. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat later confirmed that air defenses had shot down 66 air targets over the capital and surrounding areas throughout the morning.

At least five civilians were injured during the hours-long assault, in which several buildings were damaged by falling debris from downed drones, including a kindergarten. Among the injured was an 11-year-old child, according to kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

In the city’s Solomiansky district, debris left a crater in the courtyard of a residential area and the windows of a nearby building were blown out. The residents, most of them elderly, received medical treatment on site. Others took refuge in a nearby metro station. As people picked up debris and broken glass in the neighborhood, the buzzing of a new wave of drones was heard nearby.

The assault on Kiev began at 4 a.m. local time, continued in waves for more than six hours, and caused power outages in 77 residential buildings and 120 institutions, according to Popko. Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said 17,000 people were without electricity in the Kyiv region following the attack, noting that four power lines were damaged. Power was restored early in the afternoon.

“Our soldiers shot down most of the drones. Unfortunately, not all,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram. “But we continue to work to strengthen our air defense and shoot down more.”

The attack took place on the morning of Holodomor Memorial Day, which commemorates the man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine that killed millions of Ukrainians from 1932 to 1933. It is observed on the fourth Saturday in November.

Speaking on Saturday at the Grain from Ukraine summit, which saw leaders and parliamentary representatives from Belgium, Ireland, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia meet Zelensky in Kiev to discuss food security world, the Ukrainian president warned that “if (Russia’s Vladimir) Putin could organize a new Holodomor in Ukraine, he would do it.”

In addition to kyiv, the regions of Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kirovohrad were also targeted.

Meanwhile, shelling killed one person and injured three in the southern Kherson region, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Saturday. According to Prokudin, the region was bombed 100 times in the previous 24 hours.

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