Air raid sirens in Kyiv as Russia launches fresh drone attacks

Ukrainian officials say at least one wounded in ‘waves of Russian drone attacks’ on Kyiv’s critical infrastructure.

Air raid sirens have blared across the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, as Russia kept pounding the city for a second night in a row.

The drone attacks early on Monday targeted critical infrastructure in Kyiv and the surrounding region, according to Ukrainian officials, and have wounded at least one person.

“It is loud in the region and in the capital: night drone attacks,” said Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor of the Kyiv region.

“Russians launched several waves of [Iranian-made] Shahed drones. Targeting critical infrastructure facilities,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging application.

“Our air defence forces are working on the targets,” he added. “The main thing now is to stay calm and stay in shelters until the alarm is off.”

The attacks followed a barrage of Russian missiles and drones that hit Kyiv and other cities on New Year’s Eve and early on New Year’s Day. At least three people were killed in the attacks in Kyiv and other cities on Saturday, while another person died in an attack in the southern region of Zaporizhia.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least one person was wounded in Monday’s assault after debris from a destroyed drone damaged a building in the city’s northeastern Desniansky district. The victim was a 19-year-old man, he said on Telegram.

The district, located on the left bank of the Dnieper River, is chiefly a residential area and the capital’s most populous sector.

Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify the information.

By 3am local time on Monday (01:00 GMT), Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed 20 air objects above Kyiv, the city’s military administration said. Air raid sirens had been wailing by that time for more than four hours.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country’s forces had shot down a total of 45 Iranian-made Sahed drones fired by Russia on the first night of the year. He praised Ukrainians for showing gratitude to the troops and one another.

“Drones, missiles, everything else will not help them,” he said of the Russians. “Because we stand united. They are united only by fear.”

Russia’s defence ministry said it had targeted production, storage and launch sites of Ukrainian drones with long-range missiles on New Year’s Eve.

Russia has flattened Ukrainian cities and killed thousands of civilians since President Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion in February, claiming Ukraine was an artificial state whose pro-Western outlook threatened Russia’s security.

Moscow has since claimed to have annexed about a fifth of Ukraine.

Ukraine has fought back with Western military support, driving Russian forces from more than half the territory they seized. In recent weeks, the front lines have been largely static, with thousands of soldiers dying in intense trench warfare.

Since October, Russia has launched mass missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, casting cities into darkness and cold as winter sets in. Moscow says the strikes aim to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight; Kyiv says they have no military purpose and are intended to hurt civilians, a war crime.

In his New Year’s address, Putin signalled no let-up in his assault on Ukraine.

“The main thing is the fate of Russia,” he said in a stern speech to a group dressed in military uniform, instead of the event’s normal backdrop of the Kremlin walls.

“Defence of the fatherland is our sacred duty to our ancestors and descendants. Moral, historical righteousness is on our side.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies