Kamikaze drones struck Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv on Monday, killing three and wounding four, a week after Russia’s nation-wide bombardment signaled an escalation in the air campaign against Ukraine, according to multiple reports.
The Ukrainian Air Force claimed it downed 37 of the Iranian-made self-destructive airborne weapons, while some of the 28 drones that escaped Ukrainian air defenses collapsed buildings and damaged energy infrastructure in the capital city, which until last week had been largely excluded from the fighting, according to reports from CNN and The Associated Press. The blasts came amid far-reaching drone and cruise missile attacks across Ukraine, according to Russia, as European lawmakers grow concerned about Iran’s support for the Russian invasion.
“The whole night, and the whole morning, the enemy terrorizes the civilian population,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, the AP reported. “Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine.”(RELATED: ‘Dangerously Depleted’: The US Is Sending So Many Weapons To Ukraine That Experts Are Starting To Worry)
Iran’s Shahed drones were among those deployed in the attack, Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said, according to the AP. The “kamikaze” drones are small, triangular airborne vehicles capable of evading detection to deliver explosives against a target far behind enemy lines in a suicide dive, CNN reported.
Ukraine’s power grid remained “under control” after some missiles struck energy infrastructure in Ukraine’s central and northern regions, CNN reported. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal asked citizens to further economize on power consumption.
Authorities rescued nineteen people trapped under collapsed civilian buildings, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior Ukrainian official, said, according to CNN.
Ukraine has alleged that Russia purchased 2,400 Shahed drones from Iran. Although Iranian authorities have denied supplying the stealth weapons to Russia, photos of vehicle wreckage in Ukraine, marked with Russia’s rebranded name Geran-2, meaning “geranium,” confirmed that Russia has obtained at least some of the drones.
Swarms of Shahed drones pose a challenge to Ukrainian air defenses, a Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson told the AP. While the West has committed defense systems for repelling such attacks, much of the equipment has yet to arrive in Ukraine, while other systems already in possession of the Ukrainian military lack capability to operate in darkness.
— Kabir Taneja (@KabirTaneja) October 17, 2022
European leaders threatened to further blacklist Iranian entities should the EU prove Iran, which the U.S. has designated a state sponsor of terrorism, is supplying the drones, the Financial Times reported.
The U.S. obtained evidence Iran was fast-tracking hundreds of drones to Russia, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed in July. In September, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Iranian companies and persons involved in the transfer of Iranian-made drones to burnish Russia’s weapons inventories and other support to the Russian war effort.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously said on Friday his military no longer had need for “massive” strikes on Ukraine, CNN reported.
Widespread attacks on Ukraine last week damaged civilian and critical infrastructure and struck the capital city in retaliation for Ukraine’s alleged sabotage of the bridge connecting Russia and the annexed Crimea, according to the AP.
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