Ukraine war: Kyiv hit with 'kamikaze drones', sanctions and Russia's 'acute' logistical problems

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By Alasdair Sandford  & Euronews  with Reuters, AFP, AP
L-R clockwise: A man falls to the ground amid an explosion in Kyiv; a drone flies over city; a resident is helped to his feet; and a police officer tries to shoot a drone down
L-R clockwise: A man falls to the ground amid an explosion in Kyiv; a drone flies over city; a resident is helped to his feet; and a police officer tries to shoot a drone down   -   Copyright  Credit: AFP

1. Casualties in Kyiv and Sumy as Russia 'terrorises civilians' once more

Russia attacked central Kyiv during Monday morning's rush hour with drones and shelled other cities around the country, the second time in a week it has unleashed strikes across Ukraine.

By nightfall, figures given by the authorities had raised the number of dead to nine, victims of strikes in the capital and the northeastern region of Sumy. Many areas were left without power after several Russian strikes targeted key infrastructure.

"All night and all morning, the enemy terrorises the civilian population. Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app.

The United States and United Nations have condemned the attacks, while the EU said they would only reinforce its support for Ukraine.

The Ukrainian prosecutor's office said that a fourth person had died in the capital Kyiv, following the strikes.

City mayor Vitali Klitschko said a pregnant woman was among four people killed when a "kamikaze" drone hit a brick residential building on the edge of the central Shevchenkivskyi district. Several others were taken to hospital, he added.

An AFP reporter saw one of the drones crash into a building in the Ukrainian capital as two kneeling policemen tried to shoot it down with their service weapons.

Shortly after air raid sirens sounded, several explosions were heard before 7 am local time (6:00 CEST) and again after 8:00 am (7:00 CEST). Witnesses posted videos of drones buzzing across bright morning skies over Kyiv and of what sounded like gunshots of people trying to shoot them down.

In the Sumy region, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said five people had been killed and 14 injured — three of them rescued from under the rubble — after Russia launched almost 300 strikes from across the border.

"Rescue operations continue," he said in a post on Telegram.

A week ago, Russian bombings on a scale not seen for months hit Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, killing at least 19 people and injuring 105 others and causing an international outcry.

Credit: AFP
A police officer fires at a flying drone following attacks in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Credit: AFP
Credit: AFP
A man falls is seen on the ground after a blast following a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Credit: AFP
AFP
Medical workers help a local resident after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.AFP

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the Russian strikes targeted crucial infrastructure in three regions — around Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine, and Sumy in the northeast — leaving "hundreds of districts" without electricity.

A large fire broke out at an energy facility in the Dnipropetrovsk region after a missile struck it overnight, a local official said earlier. Ukraine also reported strikes that set ablaze a sunflower oil terminal in the southern port of Mykolaiv.

Renewed Russian shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant caused it to be disconnected again from Ukraine's power grid, Ukrainian state energy firm Energoatom said.

Europe's largest nuclear plant, which has often been shelled during the war, is occupied by Russian forces but operated by Ukrainian staff.

2. International condemnation of 'desperate and reprehensible' attacks

The US embassy in Kyiv condemned Russian attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Monday and said the United States stood with the Ukrainian people.

"More desperate and reprehensible Russian attacks this morning against civilians and civilian infrastructure. We admire the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people. We will stand with you for as long as it takes," the embassy wrote on Twitter.

The EU's foreign policy chief referred to additional spending on military support for Ukraine, and a new training mission for its forces. 

"Russia’s latest indiscriminate attacks will not shake our determination to support Ukraine, it will only reinforce it," he said on Twitter.

The new United Nations human rights chief, who took office on Monday as Russian drones struck the Ukrainian capital, said attacks on civilians in Ukraine had to stop.

"It is absolutely important that...civilians are not targeted, this is very difficult in densely populated urban areas," said Volker Turk of Austria, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. "The big call is to de-escalate", he told reporters.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called for Russia to be excluded from next month's G20 summit in Indonesia, following Monday's attacks.

3. Russian fighter-bomber crashes into residential building in Yeysk

A warplane crashed Monday into a residential area in the Russian port city of Yeysk on the Sea of Azov after suffering engine failure.

The crash ignited a massive blaze that engulfed several floors of a nine-story apartment building.

A Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber came down after one of its engines caught fire during takeoff for a training mission, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

It said both crew members bailed out safely, but the plane crashed into a residential area, causing a fire as tons of fuel exploded on impact.

There was conflicting information about casualties on the ground, while authorities said they reserved emergency rooms and operating halls at local hospitals and scrambled medical aircraft.

At least four people died, while six were considered missing, according to Russian media outlets. Meanwhile, medical services stated 19 people were injured, including three children, state-owned news agency TASS reported.

At least 17 apartments were said to be affected by the fire, and about 100 were said to have been evacuated.

Euronews could not independently confirm these claims.

4. EU ministers mull more sanctions against Iran over 'kamikaze drones'

Russia has repeatedly been using the Iranian-made Shahed-136 so-called suicide drones in recent weeks to target urban centres and infrastructure, including power stations. Kyiv has now called for more sanctions against Tehran.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to the EU's Foreign Affairs Council from a bomb shelter, saying on Twitter that he had called on Brussels "to impose sanctions on Iran for providing Russia with drones".

Several EU ministers warned there would be new sanctions if Tehran's involvement in Russia's war on Ukraine was proven.

As he arrived for the meeting, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the measures would not be limited to blacklisting "some individuals".

"What we can see now: Iranian drones are used apparently to attack in the middle of Kyiv, this is an atrocity," Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said, saying the EU had to take "concrete steps" in response.

The comments came as the European Union prepared to slap sanctions on Iran on Monday over its human rights crackdown at home.

Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.

5. Russian logistical problems 'more acute' since Crimea bridge bomb — UK intelligence

A British intelligence update said on Monday that logistical issues faced by Russian forces in southern Ukraine have become more acute following damage to a key bridge to Crimea earlier this month.

"With the Russian presence in Kherson strained, and the supply routes through Crimea degraded, the ground line of communication through Zaporizhzhia Oblast is becoming more important to the sustainability of Russia’s occupation," the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin.

Russian forces in southern Ukraine are likely increasing logistical supply flow via Mariupol in an attempt to compensate for the reduced capacity of the bridge, the update said.

6. 'Heavy fighting' near Donetsk towns, says Zelenskyy

Intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces was taking place around two towns in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Bakhmut and Soledar, President Zelenskyy said on Sunday.

"The key hot spots in Donbas are Soledar and Bakhmut," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. "Very heavy fighting is going on there."

Bakhmut has been a target of Russia's armed forces in their slow move through the region since taking the key industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July. Soledar is located just north of Bakhmut.

Earlier, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian positions on several fronts, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said, with the targets including towns in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions.

Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions — which make up the larger industrial Donbas — and the strategically important Kherson province in the south constitute three of the four provinces Putin proclaimed as part of Russia last month, moves dismissed by Ukraine and its Western allies as illegitimate.

Russia's defence ministry said on Sunday its forces had repelled Ukrainian efforts to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, inflicting what it described as significant losses. 

Shelling by Ukrainian forces damaged the administration building in the city of Donetsk, the region's capital, the head of its Russian-backed administration said.

There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine to the attack. Donetsk was annexed by Russian-backed separatists in 2014, along with swathes of the Donbas.

Kremlin-backed separatist authorities have previously accused Ukraine of numerous strikes on infrastructure and residential targets in the occupied regions without providing corroborating information.

Russian authorities said on Sunday that a criminal investigation had been opened after gunmen shot dead 11 people and injured 15 at a military training ground near the Ukrainian border.