At least four people were killed when their Kyiv apartment block was hit in another wave of Russian air attacks against Ukraine, drawing condemnation from Ireland and other states and triggering calls for Iran to be sanctioned for allegedly supplying “kamikaze” drones to Moscow.
A pregnant woman was among those killed in Kyiv and three people also died in a missile strike in the northern Sumy region, one of several areas of Ukraine where Russia targeted energy infrastructure, causing power cuts and forcing Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant to switch to its back-up diesel generators.
“All night and all morning the enemy terrorises the civilian population. Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday.
“The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us. The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations. And we will get victory.”
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said 37 of 43 drones launched by Russia had been shot down and, as footage appeared online of soldiers and policemen firing from automatic rifles at the drones as they passed over central Kyiv, he urged civilians not to take potshots at the drones.
“Really, let the military do its job. Don’t shoot from your windows, because bullets in densely populated cities can end up hitting people in the head,” he warned.
Ukraine says Iran agreed recently to provide Russia with 2,400 of its Shahed-136 drones, which are known in Russia as the Geran-2 — a name clearly visible on wreckage of at least one of the drones that hit Kyiv on Monday and others used in recent days.
They move slowly but are hard for air-defence systems to detect because they are relatively small and fly low, and can do significant damage with their 50kg explosive payload.
“Call this out for what it is: State Sponsored Terrorism, targeting civilians and homes in Kyiv and other cities. Those responsible and providing drones to facilitate it should be held to account,” tweeted Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke via video link to EU counterparts from a Kyiv bomb shelter, and said on social media that he “requested more air defence and supply of ammo. Called on EU to impose sanctions on Iran for providing Russia with drones. Ninth EU sanctions package on Russia must be strong.”
Tehran denies providing Moscow with weapons for use in Ukraine, but the mounting evidence that Russia is deploying Iranian drones has spurred calls for Israel to provide more military support to Kyiv.
“Israel is apparently preparing to supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. A very reckless move. It will destroy all inter-state relations between our countries,” warned Dmitry Medvedev, a former president of Russia and now deputy chairman of its security council.
Ukraine’s state nuclear energy operator said air strikes on Monday damaged an electricity substation that cut off the Zaporizhzhia atomic power station from the national grid, prompting emergency diesel generators to kick in to maintain cooling and other vital functions at the site, which is run by Ukrainian technicians in Russian-occupied territory.
Ukraine is also closely watching its northern neighbour Belarus, which has been a staging ground for Russian attacks since the start of the all-out invasion in February. Minsk said on Monday that Russia planned to send “up to 9,000 (military) personnel, about 170 tanks, up to 200 armoured combat vehicles and up to 100 (artillery) guns and mortars” into Belarus to counter supposed threats from Ukraine and Nato.