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Russia steps up attacks on Ukraine capital

by HANNA ARHIROVA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | May 30, 2023 at 5:15 a.m.
People take cover at metro station during a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, May 29, 2023. Explosions have rattled Kyiv during daylight as Russian ballistic missiles fell on the Ukrainian capital. The barrage came hours after a more common nighttime attack of the city by drones and cruise missiles. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

KYIV, Ukraine -- Daylight explosions rattled Kyiv on Monday as Russian ballistic missiles took aim at the Ukrainian capital, hours after a more common nighttime barrage of the city by drones and cruise missiles.

Russian forces fired 11 ballistic and cruise missiles at Kyiv about 11:30 a.m. local time, according to Ukraine's chief of staff, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. All of them were shot down, he said, and puffs of white smoke could be seen in the blue sky over the city from street level.

Debris from the intercepted missiles fell in Kyiv's central and northern districts during the morning, landing in the middle of traffic on a city road and also starting a fire on the roof of a building, the Kyiv military administration said. At least one civilian was reported hurt.

The blasts unnerved some locals, already under strain after being awakened by the night attack.

"After what happened last night, I react sharply to every siren now. I was terrified, and I'm still trembling," shared Alina Ksenofontova, a 50-year-old woman who took refuge in the Kyiv subway with her dog Bublik.

The central station, Teatralna, was crowded with sheltering locals.

Artem Zhyla, a 24-year-old who provides legal services abroad, took his laptop with him and kept working underground.

"I heard two or three explosions, went to the bathroom, and then I heard five or seven more explosions. That's when I realized something terrible was happening," he said.

Like many others in the capital, he feels exhausted and stressed. However, he has no intention of giving up and planned to attend his yoga class to recharge.

"This is certainly not enough to break us," he said.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and first lady Olena Zelenska posted a video of what they said were frightened schoolchildren running and screaming down a Kyiv street toward a bomb shelter as sirens wailed.

"This is what an ordinary weekday looks like," the president wrote on Telegram.

Russia used Iskander short-range missiles in the morning attack, the spokesman for Ukraine's air force said on local television.

The missiles were fired from north of Kyiv, Yurii Ihnat said, without clarifying if he meant Russian territory. Kyiv lies about 236 miles from the Russian border.

As Kyiv builds up its air defense systems, Russia appears to be continuously testing them. Russian forces have been changing the timings of bombardments, the combination of weapons they use and the trajectories of the missiles and drones, most recently flying them low along riverbeds and through valleys to avoid detection.

With those adjustments, Russian forces are trying to "confuse and mislead our air defense system," Ihnat said. "It uses the topography of the area to disappear from radars."

"But as we can see, the Ukrainian air defense is getting stronger and stronger every day," he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it launched a series of strikes early Monday targeting Ukrainian air bases with precision long-range air-launched missiles. The strikes destroyed command posts, radars, aircraft and ammunition stockpiles, it claimed. It didn't say anything about hitting cities or other civilian areas.


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned against indifference, saying the repeated strikes on civilian areas amounted to "war crimes."

"Russia's drone and missile attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities cannot be seen as usual, no matter how frequent they grow," he tweeted in English.

During the previous night, Ukraine air defenses brought down more than 40 targets as Russian forces bombarded Kyiv with a combination of drones and cruise missiles in their 15th nighttime attack on the capital so far this month, said Serhii Popko, the head of Kyiv's military administration.

On Saturday night, Kyiv was subjected to the largest drone attack since the start of Russia's war. At least one person was killed, local officials said.

In recent months, Ukraine has been receiving advanced air defense systems from its Western allies, improving its ability to fend off bombardments by the Kremlin's forces.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is to speak today at the United Nations Security Council about safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control and endangered by the fighting.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, said agency head Rafael Grossi was expected to "set out specific ideas" about how to strengthen security at the plant, which is Europe's largest nuclear power station.

Across the country, the Ukrainian air force said that on Sunday night it shot down 37 out of 40 cruise missiles and 29 of 35 drones launched by the Kremlin's forces.

Four civilians were killed and around two dozen others were injured, including three children and a pregnant woman, in Russian shelling elsewhere across the country, authorities said.

Russian warplanes dropped bombs on the town of Toretsk on Monday afternoon, killing three civilians, Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Strikes on the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region killed two people, officials said.

Meanwhile, in the Belgorod region of Russia on the border with Ukraine, one person was killed by Ukrainian shelling of the village of Grafovka, according to Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russian missiles also slammed into a military airport in the western Khmelnytskyi region of Ukraine, destroying five aircraft and damaging the runway, local Gov. Serhyi Hamaliy said on television.

The strike sparked fires at nearby warehouses storing fuel and military equipment, he added.

Information for this article was contributed by Yurus Karmanau of The Associated Press and by Marc Santora of The New York Times.

 Gallery: Kyiv bombarded by Russian missiles

Print Headline: Russia steps up attacks on Ukraine capital


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