Ukrainian air base and port damaged as Russian air strikes intensify

Tens of thousands of Kyiv residents shelter in metro from drone and missile attacks

Tens of thousands of Kyiv residents took shelter in its metro stations as Moscow launched waves of missile and drone attacks on the city and hit military and infrastructure sites elsewhere in Ukraine in a bid to weaken the country’s planned counteroffensive.

Ukraine’s military said it shot down all 11 missiles fired by Russia during Monday’s relatively rare daytime attack on Kyiv, hours after air defence units intercepted 66 of an estimated 75 cruise missiles and explosive drones launched during the latest night-time attack on targets across the country.

Flaming debris from the downed missiles fell on city streets amid the 16th air attack by Russia on Kyiv this month, in what analysts see as a bid to map the locations of Ukraine’s air defence systems, deplete its rocket reserves and shake the morale of its people.

“Overnight, more than 9,000 citizens took refuge in subway stations, including 1,120 children. This is the biggest number of people who stayed in stations at night this month. During the daytime shelling of the capital, more than 41,000 people were in the underground,” Kyiv city council said.


Direct hits and falling debris from destroyed drones and missiles caused damage in regions across Ukraine, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“Russian forces hit facilities in Khmelnytskyi. One of them is military. Work is now under way to contain fires in storage facilities for fuel and lubricants and munitions. Five aircraft were put out of action. Repair work of the runway has begun,” said the administration of the province in western Ukraine.

In the Black Sea city of Odesa, officials said the wreckage of a drone fell in the port area, causing a fire and damaging infrastructure at a key hub for Ukrainian exports of grain under a fragile deal with Russia brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

“Overnight, Russian forces delivered a multiple strike by air-launched long-range precision weapons against enemy facilities at airfields,” said Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. “The goal of the strike was achieved. All designated sites were destroyed. The strike wiped out Ukrainian command and radar posts, aircraft, armament and ammunition depots.”

Ukraine insists that Moscow’s intensifying air campaign will not deter it from launching a long-awaited counteroffensive to liberate occupied territory in eastern and southeastern regions, which military experts say could aim to retake land linking the Russian border to Crimea, which the Kremlin annexed in 2014.

“All those who tried to intimidate us, dreaming that it would have some effect, you will regret it very soon. Our answer will not be long in coming. Soon everyone will see everything,” said Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

Officials in the Russian province of Belgorod, which borders eastern Ukraine, said one man was killed on Monday by shelling from the Ukrainian military.

Last week, a group of Russian anti-Kremlin guerrillas who are fighting the Kremlin’s invasion force in Ukraine crossed into Belgorod region and claimed control of several villages for about 24 hours.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said an eventual post-war settlement must include a buffer zone in Belgorod and other border regions of Russia “to prevent a recurrence of aggression in the future.”

He said that “to ensure real security” for residents of Ukrainian areas adjacent to Russia, “it will be necessary to introduce a demilitarisation zone of 100-120km…probably with a mandatory international control contingent at the first stage.”

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe