Sirens wail in Kyiv, governor says drone assault underway

  • Drone attack forces residents of Kyiv to seek shelter
  • Follows the day before the biggest air raid of the war
  • Both sides on Ukraine’s eastern front were still digging in

Kyiv, December 30 (Reuters) – Residents in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv were ordered to evacuate to bomb shelters early on Friday as sirens wailed across the city, a day after Russia carried out the biggest airstrike since the war began in February.

Just after 2 a.m., the Kyiv city government issued a warning about the air raid sirens on its messaging app channel Telegram, urging residents to go to emergency shelters.

Olekskiy Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv region, told Telegram that a “drone attack” was underway.

A Reuters witness 20 km (12 miles) south of Kyiv heard multiple explosions and the sound of anti-aircraft fire.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Thursday evening that air commandos in central, southern, eastern and western Ukraine repelled 54 Russian missiles and 11 drones on Thursday.

Zelenskyy admitted that most regions were suffering from power outages. Areas where the blackout was “particularly difficult” included the capital Kyiv, Odessa and Kherson to the south and surrounding regions, as well as the Lviv region near the western border with Poland, Zelenskyy said.

“But that’s nothing compared to what could have happened if it weren’t for our heroic anti-aircraft gunners and air defenses,” he said.

Reuters footage Thursday showed rescue workers sifting through the smoldering rubble of homes in Kyiv destroyed by an explosion and rocket smoke plumes in the sky. Officials had previously said more than 120 rockets were fired during Thursday’s attack.

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that more than 18 residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure facilities were destroyed in the recent attacks.

Waves of Russian airstrikes on energy infrastructure in recent months have left millions of people without electricity and heating in often freezing temperatures.

The United States last week announced nearly $2 billion in additional military aid, including the Patriot air defense system, which provides protection from aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.


Britain said on Friday it had provided Ukraine with more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 bomb deactivation kits to help clear minefields.

“Russia’s use of landmines and attack on civilian infrastructure underscores the shocking ferocity of Putin’s invasion,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.

“This latest package of support from the UK will help Ukraine safely clear land and buildings as it reclaims its rightful territory.”

The German company Vallon’s metal detectors can help troops clear safe routes on roads and trails by helping eliminate blast hazards, the Defense Ministry said, while the kits can defuse the fuse of unexploded bombs.

Wallace said on Thursday Britain will allocate 2.3 billion pounds ($2.77 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2023, the same as the amount it has allocated this year.


Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, but Ukraine says its daily bombardment is destroying towns, villages and the country’s power, medical and other infrastructure.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “military special operation” against what it perceives as a threat to its security.

Ukraine and its Western allies have denounced Russia’s actions as imperialist-style land grabs and imposed sanctions to try to disrupt the campaign.

The 11-month war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions from their homes, left cities in ruins and rocked the global economy, driving up energy and food prices.

The heaviest fighting is taking place in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which together form the Donbass industrial region. Russia claimed in September that it annexed them along with the southern provinces of Kherson and Zaporizhia, but does not fully control either of them.

($1 = 0.8290 pounds)

Reporting by Reuters bureaus; writing by Grant McCool and Michael Perry; Edited by Daniel Wallis & Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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