Civilians in Kyiv woke up to another Monday of air sirens and blasts as Russia unleashed a deadly barrage with its "kamikaze" drones. Several people were killed and infrastructure razed to the ground as the Kremlin targeted Ukraine's capital city for the second time during rush hour.
The targeted areas included Shevchenko district. Rocket strikes hit the southern port city of Odesa, central Dnipropetrovsk region and the northeastern Sumy region. Officials also reported drone attacks in the southern city of Mykolaiv.
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv mayor, said the drone attack caused fire and damaged several buildings in the central Shevchenkivsky district. He said fire departments are working. "Several residential buildings were damaged, medics are on the spot. We are clarifying the information about the casualties." The mayor highlighted that 28 drones flew in the direction of Kyiv, but majority were shot down.
The Shahed-136 drones are called "kamikaze" for destroying its target by physically crashing into it. It can be equipped with a small warhead to make it an effective precision weapon. The kamikaze drones have emerged as "fresh trouble" for Ukraine even as Russian forces have been pushed back on the battlefield. The Shahed-136 (Iranian-made) drones belong the to the class of "loitering munitions" or suicide drones. It can wait around the target area until instructed to attack. When these unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) flies into a target, it can detonate an explosive payload on impact.
The Shahed-136, regarded for its sheer firepower, is manufactured by state-owned Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Company. According to the UK Ministry of Defense, the kamikaze drones have a range of 2,500 km. It suggests that Russia is using this system to conduct tactical strikes rather than against more strategic targets farther into Ukrainian territory. Moreover, the United States had warned that Iran was delivering drones to Russia. The Institute for the Study of War had stated that Moscow launched a satellite into orbit on behalf of Iran "in exchange" for the weapons.
Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described Russia's onslaught as "terrorism". He said the strikes on Monday hit critical energy infrastructure in three regions. "Russian terrorists once again attacked the energy infrastructure of Ukraine in three regions." The PM noted five strikes in Kyiv, in addition to attacks in the Dnipropetrovsky and Sumy regions. "Hundreds of settlements were cut off as a result of the attack." The Interior Minister said several people were killed in Russian air strikes on cities across the country. He outlined that there were also fatalities in other cities. The U.S embassy in Kyiv rebuked Moscow, calling the attacks "desperate and reprehensible."
Meanwhile, Russia's defense ministry confirmed that it used "high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons" to strike military and energy targets in Ukraine.