At least one drone downed in new air attack on Ukraine’s Kyiv

Kyiv military administration head Serhii Popko says city suffered most intense attacks ‘since the beginning of this year’.

Russia also fired two dozen combat drones at Ukraine earlier on Thursday, hitting Kyiv for the third time in four days [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Air raid sirens sounded in Ukraine’s Kyiv after residents were subjected to drone attacks, spasms of gunfire and explosions during the fourth attack on the capital in as many days, according to officials.

Officials said at least one drone was downed after anti-aircraft units went into action during the raid on Thursday evening, which began just after 8pm (17:00 GMT) and lasted about 20 minutes.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said there had been two impacts from downed drones.

“During the last air alert, an unmanned aerial vehicle was spotted over Kyiv. The object was shot down by air defence forces,” Kyiv city military administration head Serhii Popko said on Telegram.


Popko said a fire was brought under control in a building where the drone was brought down in the Solomyanskyi district, west of the city centre. He said there were no injuries.

Local authorities had declared an alert for the capital and the surrounding area.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia fired two dozen combat drones at Ukraine, hitting Kyiv for the third time in four days and also striking a university campus in the Black Sea city of Odesa, in advance of an expected counteroffensive by Ukraine to recapture occupied land.

Technical failure

Ukraine’s air force said on Thursday that it had destroyed one of its own drones after it had begun flying out of control over the Kyiv region.

“On 4th May at about 8pm during a planned flight in Kyiv region, control was lost over a Baykartar TV2 drone,” the air force said in a statement on Telegram.

“As the uncontrolled flight of the drone in skies over the capital could have led to undesirable consequences, the decision was taken to use mobile fire groups. The target – destroyed!”

The statement said the drone had probably suffered a technical failure.

The Ukrainian air force said earlier that Russia had fired 24 attack drones overnight, 18 of which were downed. Authorities said there were no casualties, AFP reported.

Popko said Kyiv “has not experienced such intensity of strikes since the beginning of this year”.

Russia, US, trade blame

The latest attacks on Kyiv come a day after Russia claimed that it had shot down two drones aimed at the Kremlin before they reached President Vladimir Putin’s official residence.

Russia on Thursday accused the United States of being behind the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin aiming to kill Putin.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, without providing evidence, said Ukraine had acted on US orders with the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin citadel in the early hours of Wednesday.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said Peskov was “just lying” and that the US neither encouraged nor enabled Ukraine to attack outside its borders.

Kyiv has also denied involvement in the incident, which followed a string of blasts over the past week targeting freight trains and oil depots in western Russia and Russian-controlled Crimea. Moscow has blamed Ukraine for those attacks, too.

“Attempts to disown this [attack on the Kremlin], both in Kyiv and in Washington, are, of course, absolutely ridiculous. We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are made not in Kyiv but in Washington,” Peskov told reporters.

Peskov said an urgent investigation was under way and that any response would be carefully considered and balanced.

A top US intelligence official said that Russia is very unlikely to use its nuclear weapons, suggesting restraint by Moscow even as it endures heavy casualties.

“It’s very unlikely, is our current assessment,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine

Nuclear tensions between Russia and the US have increased since the start of the conflict with Ukraine, with Putin repeatedly warning that Russia is ready to use its nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, talks on a potential donation of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine are progressing, and there are “no taboos”, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

“We are working closely with our partners Belgium, others, the UK, and Denmark, on getting that debate somehow to a conclusion. We are not there yet,” he said.

“At this moment the panzer-howitzers are in Ukraine, [and] the Leo 2s are being delivered to Ukraine,” Rutte noted. “So we will work on this diligently, on the F-16s, and clearly there is support in parliament for this government to work on that.”

Technical personnel from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations are expected to meet on Friday to discuss a deal that allows the exports of Ukrainian grains on the Black Sea, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The meeting will come in advance of the planned deputy defence ministers of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey next week, Akar said, adding that Ankara continues its efforts for further extension of the deal that will expire on May 18.

Source: News Agencies