Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Russia attacks central kyiv with wave of Iranian ‘suicide’ drones

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kyiv has returned to the shelters this Monday. If seven Russian cruise missiles hit the heart of the Ukrainian capital last Monday, terror has now been sown by the Iranian Shahed-136 suicide drones, the main Russian weapon in this phase of the war. Five unmanned vehicles have fallen for the first time in the center of kyiv, hitting an office building and a block of flats. According to the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuri Ignat, the drones would come from neighboring Belarus. At least four people have died and about twenty have been injured, according to the Ukrainian Department of Civil Protection. In Sumi province, four more people have been killed in the shelling of an electrical substation.

The main target of the attack on kyiv has been a headquarters of Ukrenergo, the state company that operates the Ukrainian electricity network. A nearby block of flats has also been damaged. Emergency services were still searching through the rubble at noon for possible victims. More Shahed-136 were fired on the capital, although they were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses, as EL PAIS was able to visually confirm and also several videos broadcast by citizens of kyiv. Warning alarms of possible air attack have continued to sound in kyiv and other provinces throughout the day.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed early in the morning to have shot down 37 Shahed across the country since Sunday night, especially in what they consider to be the largest wave of attacks by Russian unmanned vehicles since the start of the war. . The mayor of kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, added at noon that 28 drones were fired in the last hours against the city.

A drone flies over kyiv before hitting a building on Monday. SERGEY SHESTAK (EFE)

Russia fired on October 10 more than 80 missiles against 18 Ukrainian provinces, in the most intense bombardment since the beginning of the invasion in February. In the days that followed, dozens of rockets and dozens of drones were used against civilian infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin assured on Friday that the large-scale bombings had ended, but the events of this Monday deny this.

The Ukrainian authorities and the main intelligence services of the NATO countries assume that the massive use of these unmanned aerial weapons is a consequence of a drastic reduction in their ballistic arsenal.

Attacks against electrical infrastructure

Russia has accelerated this October its plan to interrupt the supply of energy to the Ukrainian population during the cold months, which the government of the president of the former Soviet republic, Volodimir Zelenski, has branded as a war crime. Power plants, electricity distribution substations, coal extraction plants and the gas network are the main aerial targets in recent weeks. The province of Dnipro, in the east of the country, suffered widespread electricity cuts on Monday due to Russian attacks during the morning, according to the regional government. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal has claimed that “hundreds” of municipalities have been left without electricity in Dnipro and Sumi province. Experts from DiXi, the Ukrainian Center for Energy Studies, They estimated that 40% of the energy network was affected by the attacks. All oil refineries in the country have been destroyed, according to DiXi.

Zelensky said last week that his intelligence services were aware that Moscow had acquired 2,400 drones from Iran. Russia and Iran have collaborated with the use of these weapons during the civil war in Syria to support the Bashar al-Assad regime. The Shahed-136 can cover a distance close to 2,000 km. Its triangular shape and the noise of its engine, similar to that of a lawnmower, are unmistakable and have been heard for the first time in kyiv. Most of these are fired from Russian territory, but also from the annexed Crimea and from Belarus, the latter with kyiv as the main target. The growing military cooperation between Russia and Belarus may force the Ukrainian General Staff to station more units in the northern border regions,

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