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Ukraine War: Russia Steps Up Air Assaults, Launches Largest Drone Attack And Daytime Missiles At Kyiv

Throughout the war, Russia has targeted the civilian settlements such as houses and critical infrastructure such as power stations and railway lines, inflicting high civilian casualties and destroying public infrastructure.

An apartment building struck by a Russian strike (Representative Photo)
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Russia has stepped up the air assault on Ukraine, launching the largest drone attack yet on Kyiv on Saturday night followed by daytime barrage on Monday. 

Ukrainian government maintains that most of the drones and missiles were intercepted by air-defence systems. 

Of the 59 drones fired on Saturday night, 58 were shot down by the air-defence systems, according to Ukrainian Air Force.

At least 11 missiles were launched in a rare daytime attack on Kyiv on Monday, said Ukrainian military, adding that all the missiles were shot down. 

Throughout the war, Russia has targeted the civilian settlements such as houses and critical infrastructure such as power stations and railway lines, inflicting high civilian casualties and destroying public infrastructure. Lately, however, the Ukrainians have been able to neautralise a lot of incoming Russian missiles and drones, thanks to Western air-defence systems.

The drone attacks on Kyiv

Russia carried out the largest drone attack on Kyiv since the beginning of the war on Saturday. At least one person was killed in the attacks.

The Ukrainian military said that most of 59 drones fired by Russia were aimed at Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

"The Russian Federation carried out another massive attack on the territory of Ukraine, using Iranian attack drones Shahed. According to updated information, 58 out of 59 were shot down by our defenders," said the Ukrainian General Staff, as per France 24.

Earlier, Ukraine's Air Force had said that 54 drones had been launched. 

The drone assault came as Kyiv prepared to mark the anniversary of its founding on Sunday. 

Russia launched the "most massive attack" on the city overnight Saturday with Iranian-made Shahed drones, said Serhii Popko, a senior Kyiv military official. The attack lasted more than five hours. 

The daytime Russian strikes on Kyiv

Explosions rattled Kyiv during daylight on Monday as Russian ballistic missiles took aim at the Ukrainian capital, hours after a more common nighttime barrage of the city by drones and cruise missiles.

Russian forces fired 11 ballistic and cruise missiles at Kyiv at about 11:30 a.m., according to Ukraine's chief of staff, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. All of them were shot down, he said, and puffs of white smoke could be seen in the blue sky over the city from street level.

Debris from the intercepted missiles fell in Kyiv's central and northern districts during the morning, landing in the middle of traffic on a city road and also starting a fire on a building's roof, the Kyiv military administration said. At least one civilian was reported hurt.

The central station, Tetatralna, was crowded with sheltering locals.

The missiles were fired from north of Kyiv, Yurii Ihnat said without clarifying if he meant Russian territory. Kyiv lies around 380 kilometres from the Russian border.

The Russian Defence Ministry said that early Monday it launched a series of strikes targeting Ukrainian air bases with precision long-range air-launched missiles. The strikes destroyed command posts, radars, aircraft and ammunition stockpiles, it claimed. It didn't say anything about hitting cities or other civilian areas.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned against indifference, saying the repeated strikes on civilian areas amounted to "war crimes".

"Russia's drone and missile attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities cannot be seen as usual, no matter how frequent they grow," he tweeted in English.

During the previous night, Ukraine air defenses brought down more than 40 targets as Russian forces bombarded Kyiv with a combination of drones and cruise missiles in their 15th nighttime attack on the capital so far this month, said Serhii Popko, the head of Kyiv's military administration.

On Saturday night, Kyiv was subjected to the largest drone attack since the start of Russia's war. At least one person was killed, local officials said. Kremlin's strategy of long-range bombardment has brought many sleepless nights for Ukrainians.

Russian attempts to weaken Ukrainian resolve

Over the winter, Russian forces aimed their missiles and drones at power plants and other infrastructure. The apparent goal was to weaken Ukraine's resolve and compel the Ukrainian government to negotiate peace on Moscow's terms, but Ukrainians swiftly and defiantly repaired the damage.

In recent months, Ukraine has been receiving advanced air defence systems from its Western allies, improving its ability to fend off bombardments by the Kremlin's forces.

Across the country, the Ukrainian air force said that over Sunday night it shot down 37 out of 40 cruise missiles and 29 out of 35 drones launched by the Kremlin's forces.

At least three civilians were wounded nationwide in the latest wave of attacks, the Ukrainian presidential office said.

Russian missiles slammed into a military airport In the western Khmelnytskyi region of Ukraine, destroying five aircraft and damaging the runway, local Gov. Serhyi Hamaliy said on television.

The strike sparked fires at nearby warehouses storing fuel and military equipment, he added.

Russian shelling and airstrikes also targeted nine localities in the eastern Donetsk region, including the city of Kramatorsk which houses the local Ukrainian army headquarters, local Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Ukrainian TV.

Elsewhere, Russian cruise missiles struck a village in the northeastern Kharkiv region, wounding six people including two minors and a pregnant woman, local officials said.

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Also, one person was killed and nine others, including an 11-year-old child, were wounded in strikes on the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, authorities said. 

(With AP inputs)

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