Rescuers work at the site of drone attack in downtown Kyiv Rescuers work at the site of drone attack in downtown Kyiv  (ANSA)

Russian ‘kamikaze drones’ kill civilians in Ukraine

Ukraine says at least seven people have been killed in Russian missile and drone strikes, including a couple in the capital, Kyiv, as Ukraine's leaders ask for more western air defense systems.

By Stefan J. Bos

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal says Monday's deadly Russian drone and missile strikes hit critical infrastructure in three regions, cutting off electricity in hundreds of villages across the country.

Earlier overnight in the southern port city of Mykolaiv, sunflower oil tanks were set on fire by drones, said the city's mayor, Oleksandr Senkevich.

Devastations were especially noted in the eastern region of Sumy, where regional authorities said at least a handful of people died and more were injured in Monday's attacks.

The death toll could rise as many people were reportedly still beneath the rubble.

But even the capital Kyiv isn't safe. Panic broke out as residents woke up from the sound of Iranian-made so-called "kamikaze" drones in the capital.

The drones are named after Japanese pilots carrying out suicide missions with their explosives-laden aircraft during World War Two.

It is the latest weapon Russia uses in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine amid reports that it is running out of firing more expensive cruise missiles. Police were seen shooting at the drones, but it wasn't enough to prevent more death and destruction.

Young, expectant couple killed

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko confirmed that a young couple expecting their first child was among those killed in a residential drone attack.

Klitschko, who called Russia “a terrorist country," stressed that the killed woman was six months pregnant. He said the couple and another victim were discovered during search and rescue operations in a residential building in the center of Kyiv.

A journalist reported seeing fragments of a drone used in the attack that bore the words "For Belgorod."

The Russian border city of Belgorod has been hit several times since Russia invaded Ukraine. Moscow blames Kyiv for the attacks.

Mayor Klitschko said there were four strikes in Kyiv, although residents heard five or six explosions. He urged people to stay in air raid shelters.

The mayor said the city authorities are expecting soon the arrival of air defense systems from the West to protect the capital from drone attacks.

But for now, the drones make people realize that despite reported Ukrainian progress on the battlefields, the war is far from over.

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17 October 2022, 16:57