Russian forces launched a wave of drone attacks on Ukraine’s capital before dawn on Sunday for the first time in nearly two weeks, according to Ukrainian officials.
Air-raid alarms sounded around 2:30 a.m. in the capital, Kyiv. Explosions were later reported.
Serhiy Popko, the head of the city’s military administration, said that air defenses had destroyed all of the drones in Kyiv’s airspace. It was the first time in 12 days that Russian forces had used Iranian-made attack drones to target the capital, he said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.
No one was killed, but debris from downed drones damaged three homes in the Kyiv region, according to the local military administration in a statement on Telegram. A man suffered a leg injury in one of those homes, it added.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia had launched a total of eight Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones and three cruise missiles at targets across the country overnight, all of which were destroyed.
Russia has repeatedly launched overnight drone attacks on Kyiv since its full-scale invasion began in February 2022. Ukraine’s complex air-defense network has become increasingly adept at intercepting Russian attacks, often shooting down the majority of the drones.
The overnight drone assault came as Ukraine’s military reported “heavy fighting” on the front lines in the east, one of the areas where Kyiv’s forces are waging a grueling counteroffensive to claw back territory captured by Russia.
The Ukrainian military also said on Sunday that “intense combat” was underway near the Antonovsky Bridge in the southern region of Kherson. Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s southern command, described the fighting as primarily “counter-battery warfare” — or an attempt to take out Russian firing positions.
In November, Russian forces retreated from the city of Kherson, on the western bank of the Dnipro River, and withdrew to the opposite side. Since then, from new positions in small towns and marshy areas along the eastern bank, they have been relentlessly shelling Kherson and nearby towns.
The Ukrainian regional military administration for Kherson said on Sunday that Russian forces had launched 86 strikes on the city over the past day, wounding five people, including three children. The details could not be independently verified.
Military analysts have said that fighting near the Antonovsky Bridge — which was a strategic transport link from the city of Kherson across the Dnipro River before the bridge was destroyed by retreating Russian forces — has intensified this past week. Russian military bloggers have suggested that Kyiv’s troops might be trying to establish a foothold on the river’s east bank.
On Saturday, Britain’s defense intelligence agency said that Ukrainian forces had “almost certainly” been moving personnel to the east bank of the river. And Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that it had “neutralized” a group of Ukrainian soldiers trying to land boats on a river island.
The claims could not be independently verified, but local residents and Russian military bloggers said this past week that boats carrying Ukrainian soldiers had been spotted around the bridge and that Ukrainian forces appeared to be seizing more of the river islands and swampy banks around the city of Kherson, in a possible expansion of Kyiv’s counteroffensive.