- By Jaroslav Lukiv
- BBC News
Russia has launched a new massive drone attack on Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, local officials said.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said one person was killed when debris from a drone fell near a gas station. A woman was injured.
In total, Russia launched 54 kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets, 52 of which were shot down, according to Ukraine’s air force.
Officials said more than 40 drones were downed in Kiev alone.
This information has not been independently verified.
Russia – which launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 – has stepped up its attacks on Kyiv in recent weeks, seeking to breach the capital’s defenses.
Earlier on Sunday, air raid warnings were activated in 12 regions of Ukraine, from Volyn in the northwest to Dnipropetrovsk in the southeast.
In a post on social media, Mr Klitschko urged Kyiv residents to “stay in shelters”, warning of waves of drone strikes and a “difficult” night ahead.
He said at least two high-rise buildings in different districts of the capital caught fire after falling and being hit by drone fragments.
Kyiv authorities also reported that warehouses in the southern Holosiyivsky district were on fire.
Some officials have accused Russia of deliberately targeting Kyiv as residents prepare to celebrate Kyiv Day — the city’s foundation 1,500 years ago and a popular holiday before the war.
There were also reports of explosions in the city of Zhytomyr, west of Kiev.
The air alert was later lifted in the capital and across the country.
In its latest attacks, Russia has used so-called kamikaze drones and a variety of cruise and ballistic missiles.
The attacks came ahead of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
On Saturday, one of Ukraine’s most senior security officials told the BBC that the country was ready to launch such an operation.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s powerful National Defense and Security Council, said the offensive to retake the territory from President Vladimir Putin’s occupation forces would begin “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or a week.”
Ukraine has been planning a counterattack for months. But it wanted as much time as possible to train troops and acquire military equipment from Western allies.
“Sooner or later, of course, this escalation may take on a new dimension that we don’t need and we don’t want,” he warned, adding that arming Ukraine risks escalating the war to unprecedented levels.