Russia launched its biggest drone attack on Kyiv since the start of the war on November 25, 2023. Waves of explosives-laden drones struck critical infrastructure in the Ukrainian capital, injuring several civilians.
Over 75 Drones Target Kyiv
The Russian military sent over 75 drones in multiple waves targeting energy facilities and other infrastructure across Kyiv, according to Ukraine’s Air Force.
"The sound of explosions doesn’t stop for an hour or even half an hour," said Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
At least five people were wounded, including an 11-year-old girl, according to officials. Two of the injured required hospitalization while the others were treated on the spot.
The sheer scale of the overnight drone attack was unprecedented since Russia’s invasion began in February. It came just days after smaller-scale strikes on Kyiv earlier in the week.
Massive Blackouts Across Ukraine
The barrage of strikes caused blackouts across Kyiv and surrounding areas, leaving hundreds of towns and villages without power.
Critical infrastructure facilities in the regions of Odesa, Sumy, and Dnipropetrovsk were also impacted, according to Ukraine’s Air Force.
Local authorities warned of potential disruptions to electricity, water, heating, and internet across swaths of Ukraine. Temperatures plunged below freezing overnight, exacerbating the effects of the blackouts.
"About 4,000 Ukrainian localities suffer from power shortages to varying degrees due to the latest Russian attacks," said presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich.
Iran-Supplied Drones ‘Shot Down’
Ukraine claimed its air defenses intercepted and destroyed at least 37 of the drones before they hit their targets. This included shooting down 14 Shahed-136 drones supplied by Iran.
Russia has increasingly relied on waves of the Iranian-made kamikaze drones in recent weeks to carry out strikes deep inside Ukraine. The Delta-shaped Shahed drones can evade radar detection and linger over targets before nosediving into them with explosive warheads.
"We will bring down all the drones, even if there are hundreds of them," said Yuriy Ihnat, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force.
|At least 37
Russia Strikes Back After Crimea Bridge Attack
The large-scale drone attack appears to be retaliation after Ukraine damaged a prominent Russian symbol last month.
On October 8, a powerful blast ripped through the road and rail bridge connecting mainland Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it "an act of terrorism" and directly blamed Ukrainian special forces.
Since the Kerch bridge attack, Moscow has been looking to reassert itself after the embarrassing strike on a prominent target.
The Russian military has stepped up attacks on Ukraine’s power grid and other critical infrastructure in recent weeks, seeming to target civilian morale ahead of the winter. About 10 million Ukrainians have been left without electricity amidst heavy shelling.
Zelenskyy Defiant After Drone Swarm
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remained defiant after the widespread drone attack on the capital, vowing to strengthen air defenses and shoot down incoming missiles.
In an address posted on social media, Zelenskyy told Ukrainians "we will survive" and praised emergency workers for preventing wider destruction.
Diplomats widely condemned the drone strikes. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called the attacks "unacceptable" while French leader Emmanuel Macron denounced the strikes as "reprehensible."
Next Phase of War Looms
With winter setting in, military analysts warn the conflict is entering a new attritional phase defined by slower ground advances.
Russia’s advantage in artillery may allow it to gain more ground in eastern areas like Bakhmut. But weaker mobility due to weather could limit any rapid pushes, say experts.
"The winter months ahead are likely to see conditions worsen for large-scale offensives, with both sides increasingly bogged down," notes the Institute for the Study of War.
Ukraine meanwhile may launch more ambitious drone and rocket attacks on Russian-held areas, taking advantage of hardened snow cover. Officials have hinted at plans to strike more high-value strategic targets in the coming months.
"We have the legitimate right to strike back at the enemy warehouses, bases, headquarters, etc., from which attacks on our cities are launched or ordered," said presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak.
With both sides girding for clashes in the snow, civilians brace for a difficult winter amidst energy shortages and infrastructure damage across Ukraine. Relief agencies warn of a humanitarian crisis as refugees struggle with the cold. Ultimately though, Zelenskyy insists his country will prevail against what he calls a "terrorist" state.
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