Russian missile attacks have again rocked Ukraine with one person reported killed in the southern city of Odesa and falling debris from destroyed missiles causing fires in two districts of the capital, Kyiv.
Two more people were also wounded in the Odesa attack, Ukraine’s military administration spokesman Serhii Bratchuk wrote on Telegram on Thursday.
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“Most of the enemy’s missiles were shot down over the sea by the Air Defence Forces. Unfortunately, an industrial object was hit: 1 person died, two were injured,” Bratchuk wrote.
Ukraine’s army reported several explosions in Kyiv’s Desnianskyi district and said a fire had broken out at a business in the city’s Darnytskyi neighbourhood as a result of falling debris from the shooting down of missiles.
The military also reported “cruise missile” attacks in the central Vinnytsia region, and local media reported explosions in Khmelnytskyi, about 100km (62 miles) further west.
Kyiv’s anti-aircraft defences had engaged the air attack and there were no reports of injuries, according to Serhii Popko, head of the city’s civil and military administration, who urged people to stay in bomb shelters.
“A series of air attacks on Kyiv, unprecedented in their power, intensity and variety, continues,” Popko said, noting that the attack was likely carried out by two Russian strategic bombers launching cruise missiles.
All of the missiles were downed by air defences, he said, adding that a Russian surveillance drone observed the area after the attack, the Kyiv Independent media outlet reported.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, writing on Telegram, said one fire had broken out in a garage facility in the city’s Darnitsya region and debris had also fallen in another part of the city. He said there were no casualties from either of the incidents.
The attack on Kyiv marks the ninth time this month that Russian air raids have targeted the capital, a clear escalation after weeks of a lull and ahead of a much-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive using newly supplied advanced Western weapons.
Local media cited Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi as reporting that of the 30 Russian sea, air, and land-based cruise missiles involved in the attack on Thursday, Ukraine’s forces had destroyed all bar one.
On Tuesday, Zaluzhnyi said that Ukrainian forces had shot down all 18 Russian missiles of various types that were launched in the most complex and concentrated attack on Kyiv to date.
Russia had launched six Kinzhal ballistic missiles, nine Kalibr cruise missiles, and three Iskander land-based cruise missiles, Zaluzhnyi said on Telegram. Ukraine’s Air Force also shot down six Iranian-made Shahed drones and three reconnaissance drones.
US-made Patriot missile systems have proved key in helping to shield Kyiv against relentless missile attacks targeting civilians and infrastructure.
One of only two Patriot systems confirmed to be in Ukraine was damaged by an unspecified projectile landing nearby, US officials confirmed on Wednesday, though they said the missile system was easily repaired and functioning, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
US officials reported that a #Patriot air defense system is operational after the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian missile strikes on #Kyiv destroyed the system on May 16. https://t.co/SkJ2rpM2cS https://t.co/Li3iC8ZO70
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) May 18, 2023
The Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday that its forces had destroyed a Patriot system in Kyiv with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile.