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Moscow targets Kyiv region after a long period of calm

AFP . Kyiv
11 Nov 2023 21:17:34 | Update: 11 Nov 2023 21:17:34
Moscow targets Kyiv region after a long period of calm
A serviceman mourns next to a Ukrainian flag at a makeshift memorial for fallen soldiers at Independence Square in Kyiv, on November 10 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine — AFP Photo

A missile targeted Kyiv on Saturday, ending nearly two months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital, while frontline regions fended off waves of drone attacks overnight. 

Ukraine is bracing for a renewed Russian aerial onslaught this winter, after systematic strikes last year targeted the country's energy grid, leaving thousands without heating or electricity in freezing temperatures for long periods.

"After a long pause of 52 days, the enemy renewed missile attacks on Kyiv," said the head of the Kyiv city military administration Sergiy Popko. 

He added that the Russians had launched a missile attack on the capital on Saturday morning. 

AFP journalists in central Kyiv heard two strong explosions and saw trails in the sky at dawn. 

Air sirens sounded soon after that.

Asked why the alarm had gone off after the explosion, air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said on television that "ballistic missiles fly extremely fast and are not as visible as cruise missiles on the radars." 

The air force said it was clarifying whether the capital had been targeted by an Iskander ballistic missile, or by an S-400 anti-aircraft missile. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Ukraine had deployed more Western air defence systems, as it braces for a second full winter of Russian attacks on energy facilities.


'Fair' response


Air defences last downed a missile in Kyiv on September 21. The falling debris wounded seven people, including a child.

There were no reported casualties or damage in the capital itself on Saturday. 

But two missiles hit a field between two settlements in the wider Kyiv region, the head of the regional military administration said. 

"The blast wave damaged five private residential buildings. In particular, roofs and windows were smashed," Ruslan Kravchenko said. 

Other regions of Ukraine meanwhile fended off drone attacks overnight.

The air force said it downed 19 of the 31 attack drones launched by Moscow between Friday evening and Saturday 03:00 am (0100 GMT). 

"The Russian occupants sent most of the attack UAVs to the frontline areas," it said.

It added Russia used several missiles overnight, but did not specify if any of them were downed. 

Ukraine warned it may attack Russian oil and gas infrastructure if Moscow repeats its campaign of strikes on energy infrastructure over the winter. 

Energy Minister German Galushchenko said it "would be fair" to target Russia's oil and gas infrastructure if Ukraine's power grid came under sustained attacks, in an interview with Politico.

On the ground, Ukrainian forces are facing assaults from Russian troops around the eastern frontline town of Avdiivka.

"Our servicemen and women are steadfastly holding the line in the Avdiivka sector," Ukrainian army commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said.

Ukrainian officials said earlier this week they were bracing for a third wave of attacks from Russian forces, which began storming the Avdiivka about one month ago.

Over the past day, two people were killed in the southern frontline Kherson and eight others were wounded, governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.