Local officials say that Russia used many drones to attack Ukraine’s city of Kyiv overnight, killing at least one person.
Vitaliy Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said that a guy died when a piece of a drone crashed near a gas station. A woman got hurt.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia sent a record number of 54 so-called kamikaze drones at Ukrainian targets, and 52 of them were shot down.
Officials say that more than 40 drones were shot down in Kyiv alone.
A third party hasn’t checked this information.
Russia started its full-scale invasion in February 2022. In the past few weeks, it has stepped up its attacks on Kyiv to break down the city’s defenses.
Earlier Sunday, air raid alerts were set off in 12 parts of Ukraine, from Volyn in the northwest to Dnipropetrovsk in the southeast.
In a post on social media, Mr. Klitschko told people in Kyiv to “stay in shelters” and warned that there would be a lot of drone attacks and a “difficult” night.
He said that falling pieces of a drone had set fire to at least two tall buildings in different parts of the city.
Officials in Kyiv also said that warehouses in the Holosiyivsky area in the city’s southern part were on fire.
Some officials said that Russia was targeting Kyiv on purpose because people were getting ready to celebrate Kyiv Day, a famous holiday before the war that marked the day the city was founded 1500 years ago.
West of Kyiv, in the city of Zhytomyr, there were also reports of blasts.
Later, the air alert was dropped in the country’s capital and everywhere else.
In recent strikes, Russia has used so-called kamikaze drones and various cruise and ballistic missiles.
The strikes come before a Ukrainian counteroffensive that most people were expecting.
One of the top security leaders in Ukraine told the BBC on Saturday that the country was ready to start such an operation.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s robust National Security and Defense Council, said an attack to take back land from President Vladimir Putin’s occupying forces could start “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in a week.”
Ukraine has been making plans for a counterattack for a long time. But it has wanted as much time as possible to train troops and get military supplies from Western partners.
In the meantime, Russian troops have been building up their defenses in the areas of southeast Ukraine that they have taken over.
Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, told the BBC that his country had “enormous resources” but hadn’t “acted very seriously” yet.
Warning that sending weapons to Ukraine could make the war worse than it has been so far, he added, “Sooner or later, this escalation may take on a new dimension that we don’t need and don’t want.”