Ukraine war: Zelenskyy praises air defence 'heroes' after Russian drone bombardment

Firefighters hose down a Policlinic following a Russian attack in Dnipro, Ukraine,
Firefighters hose down a Policlinic following a Russian attack in Dnipro, Ukraine, Copyright AP Photo/State Emergency Service of Ukraine
By Euronews with AFP/AP
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Follow the latest updates from the war in Ukraine

Ukraine thwarts 'record' drone attack on Kyiv

Ukraine claimed on Sunday to have thwarted the largest overnight drone attack on Kyiv "since the start of the Russian invasion", with military authorities saying they had destroyed 52 of the 54 explosive drones launched by Moscow in the country, including "more than 40" over the capital.


"In total, a record number of explosive drones launched have been recorded: 54!" the Ukrainian air force said on Telegram, claiming to have "destroyed 52". Authorities say two people were killed and three injured during the attack on the Ukrainian capital. 

In a statement on Telegram, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the anti-aircraft defence operators who shot down as many drones as possible.

"Every time you shoot down enemy drones and missiles, lives are saved, he wrote. "You are our heroes."

Zelenskyy announces new sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday announced new sanctions against 220 companies and 51 individuals linked with Russia.

In a video address, he claimed that those receiving sanctions "work for terror", describing them as "military-industrial enterprises and related Russian companies. Companies that serve the war".

"Not all of them operate on the territory of the terrorist state", Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address, "but all of them will receive global pressure."

He also thanked Japan, Germany, Finland, Canada, and Iceland for sanctions and defence packages.

Russia claims to intercept long-range missiles

Russia's Defence Ministry on Saturday claimed that its air defence forces had managed to intercept two "Storm Shadow" long-range cruise missiles.

Drone battles near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine continue as the scale of destruction from Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities becomes clearer.

Officers of Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade are using improvised battle drones to stop the Russian advance.

An officer said when Russians are not able to take a city, they just destroy it with artillery.


The Russian war tactic, called "burned land," was used in Bakhmut, Maryinka, and many other Ukrainian cities and villages, the officer said.

Germany receives request for cruise missiles

Ukraine has sent the German government an official request for deliveries of Taurus air-to-ground cruise missiles with a range of at least 500 km, the German Ministry of Defence told AFP on Saturday.

"We have received a request from the Ukrainian side over the last few days", the spokeswoman said, without giving details of the quantities involved.

It now remains to be seen whether or not Berlin will grant the request, which is likely to spark heated internal debate.

The German government has significantly increased its arms supplies to Kyiv in recent months, but has so far been reticent about providing cruise missiles or support for the Ukrainian air force, such as assistance with the delivery of F-16 fighters.


The Taurus is an air-to-ground cruise missile carried by fighters and developed by the German-Swedish company of the same name. Because of its range, it would be capable of hitting targets a long way behind the current front line in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine claims Russia planning attack on nuclear plant

Ukraine's military intelligence has claimed, without offering evidence, that Russia is plotting a “large-scale provocation” at a nuclear power plant it occupies in the southeast of the country with the aim of disrupting a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive.

A statement released Friday by the intelligence directorate of Ukraine's Defense Ministry claimed that Russian forces would strike the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, and then report a radioactive leak in order to trigger an international probe that would pause the hostilities and give the Russian forces the respite they need to regroup ahead of the counteroffensive.

In order to make that happen, Russia “disrupted the rotation of personnel of the permanent monitoring mission” of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency that was scheduled for Saturday, the statement said. It didn't offer evidence to back up any of the claims.

The IAEA said in an emailed response to the AP that it did not have any immediate comment on the allegations, and Russian officials did not immediately comment on the Ukrainian claims.


Ukrainian football plays on with contest for top title

Two football teams exiled from cities in war-battered eastern Ukraine will play each other Sunday in the safer western part of the country with the league title at stake.

The showdown between competition leader Shakhtar Donetsk and second-place Dnipro-1 at Arena Lviv will be decisive in a football season that is finishing on schedule in remarkable circumstances.

The stadium was one of four in Ukraine, including Shakhtar's home in Donetsk, secure enough in 2012 from Russian aggression to co-host that year's European Championship with Poland.

Shakhtar leads by five points and needs just a draw this weekend to secure the title ahead of the last scheduled round on June 4.

“I think it will maybe be one of our best matches ever,” Ukrainian league chief executive Ievgen Dykyi told The Associated Press this week in a call from Kyiv. “Because the situation now is really hard, and all the players understand about this.”

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