Russia has unleashed two waves of air attacks on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, killing at least one person and wounding another, according to officials.
Kyiv’s air defence systems downed at least 40 drones moving towards the city in the early hours of Sunday, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, with falling debris killing a 41-year-old man and wounding a 35-year-old woman.
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“Stay in shelters. The attack is massive!” the mayor said on Telegram.
The pre-dawn attacks came on the last Sunday of May when the capital celebrates Kyiv Day, the anniversary of its official founding 1,541 years ago.
The day is typically marked by street fairs, live concerts and special museum exhibitions – plans which have been made for this year as well, but on a smaller scale.
“The history of Ukraine is a longstanding irritant for the insecure Russians,” Andriy Yermak, the head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, said on his Telegram channel.
Several districts of Kyiv, the largest Ukrainian city with a population of nearly three million, suffered in the overnight attacks, officials said, including the historical Pecherskyi neighbourhood.
As the air raid alerts started soon after midnight, many people stood on their balconies, the Reuters news agency reported, with some screaming offensives directed at Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and “Glory to air defence” slogans.
With a Ukrainian counteroffensive looming 15 months into the war, Moscow has intensified its missile and drone attacks this month after a lull of nearly two months, targeting military facilities and supplies.
Waves of attacks now come several times a week.
In the leafy Holosiivskyi district in the southwestern part of Kyiv, falling debris on Sunday set a three-storey warehouse on fire, destroying about 1,000 square metres (10,800 square feet) of building structures, according to the mayor.
A fire broke out after falling drone debris hit a seven-storey non-residential building in the Solomyanskyi district west of the city. The district is a busy rail and air transport hub.
In the Pecherskyi district, a fire broke out on the roof of a nine-storey building due to falling drone debris, Kyiv’s military administration officials said on Telegram.
Over the past few weeks, reports of drone attacks in Russia have also multiplied, mostly in regions bordering Ukraine.
On Saturday, shelling in those areas killed two people, regional authorities said.
Moscow has blamed Kyiv – and its Western supporters – for the escalating number of attacks and sabotage operations, including on the Kremlin, but Ukraine has denied involvement.