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Five wounded in Kyiv by largest drone attack yet on Ukraine, officials say

An aerial view shows Ukraine’s Motherland monument, with its new Ukrainian coat of arms shield, after fresh snowfall on Nov. 22, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kostya Liberov | Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine’s capital suffered what officials said was Russia’s largest drone attack of the war on Saturday, leaving five people wounded as the rumble of air defences and explosions woke residents at sunrise.

The attack began hitting different districts of Kyiv in the early hours of Saturday, with more waves coming as the sun came up. The air raid warning lasted six hours.

Ukraine’s air force initially said 71 of the 75 drones had been shot down, but subsequently revised the number of downed craft to 74. Its spokesperson said on television that 66 of those had been downed over Kyiv and the surrounding region.

Air force chief Mykola Oleschuk praised the effectiveness of ‘mobile fire’ units – usually fast pickup trucks with a machine gun or flak cannon mounted on their flatbed. According to him, these downed nearly 40% of the drones.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko, writing on the Telegram app, said the attack had injured five people, including an 11-year-old girl, and damaged buildings in districts all across the city.

Fragments from a downed drone had started a fire in a children’s nursery, he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pointed out that the attack had come in the early hours of the day when Ukrainians commemorate their worst national tragedy – the 1932-33 Holodomor famine in which several million people starved to death.

“Wilful terror …. The Russian leadership is proud of the fact that it can kill,” he wrote on Telegram.

Ukraine’s leadership has previously drawn parallels between Holodomor and Russia’s current invasion.

Ukraine and over 30 other countries recognize Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people by the Soviet Union, which ruled Ukraine at the time and sought to crush its desire for independence.

Moscow denies the deaths were caused by a deliberate genocidal policy and says that Russians and other ethnic groups also suffered because of famine.

The target of Saturday’s attack was not immediately clear, but Ukraine has warned in recent weeks that Russia will once again wage an aerial campaign to destroy Ukraine’s energy system, as it sought to do last winter.

Ukraine’s energy ministry said nearly 200 buildings in the capital, including 77 residential ones, had been left without power as a result of the attack.

“It looks like tonight we heard the overture. The prelude to the winter season,” Serhiy Fursa, a prominent Ukrainian economist, wrote on Facebook.

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