Kyiv — Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv were urged to head to air raid shelters early Friday morning as sirens blared through the city, the day after Russia launched its heaviest air raid since the war began in February.
Shortly after 2 a.m., the Kyiv city government issued a warning about air raid sirens on its Telegram messaging app channel, urging residents to head for shelter.
Kyiv governor Oleksky Kleba said in a Telegram that an “attack by drones” was underway.
Reuters witnesses heard several explosions and anti-aircraft fire 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video speech Thursday night that the Central, Southern, Eastern and Western Ukraine Air Force Commands had repelled 54 Russian missiles and 11 drones on Thursday.
Zelensky acknowledged that most areas are experiencing power outages. Areas where the loss of power was “particularly difficult” included the southern and surrounding capitals of Kyiv, Odessa and Kherson, as well as the Lviv area near the western border with Poland, Zelensky said.
“But this is nothing compared to what could have happened without heroic anti-aircraft gunners and air defenses,” he said.
Reuters footage on Thursday showed paramedics searching the smoldering wreckage of a Kyiv home destroyed by a sky missile blast and a trail of smoke. He said the missile was fired.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said more than 18 homes and 10 critical infrastructure facilities were destroyed in recent attacks.
A wave of Russian airstrikes targeting energy infrastructure in recent months has left millions without access to electricity and heating in often freezing temperatures.
The United States last week announced nearly $2 billion in additional military aid, including the Patriot air defense system, which provides protection against aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Britain said on Friday it had given Ukraine more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 kits to disable bombs to help clear minefields.
“Russia’s use of landmines and targeting of civilian infrastructure underscores the shocking brutality of Putin’s aggression,” British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in a statement.
“This latest UK aid package will help Ukraine safely remove land and buildings as it regains its rightful territories.”
According to the Ministry of Defense, metal detectors made by German firm Vallon will help the military eliminate blast hazards and ensure safe routes on roads and trails, and the kits will help defuse fuses from unexploded bombs. I can.
Wallace said Thursday that Britain will allocate £2.3 billion ($2.77 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2023. This matches the amount offered this year.
Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, while Ukraine says daily bombings are destroying power, health care and other infrastructure in cities, towns and countries.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” against what he sees as a threat to his country’s security.
Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of imperialist land grabbing and imposed sanctions in an attempt to impede the campaign.
The heaviest fighting took place in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which together make up the industrial Donbass region. Russia claimed he annexed them in September, along with the southern provinces of Kherson and Zaporizhia, but does not fully control any of them.