Russia attacks Ukraine with Iranian-made drones: live updates


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Russia has attacked the Ukrainian capital with Iranian-made drones, which explode on impact, during the morning rush hour in the city.CreditCredit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — Loud and slow-flying, the drones hovered over the city, eerily announcing their arrival with a hum that sounded like a moped. The first explosions sounded shortly before 7 a.m., as Kyiv residents were preparing for work and the children had just woken up.

When the attack ended, at least four people were killed in a capital that was both defiant and shaken by fear.

In the strikes at the start of the war and last week, destruction came to Kyiv like a thunderclap, with missiles shooting at lightning speed. Monday’s drone attack was different, with residents aware of drones overhead, searching for their targets.

The strikes highlighted Russia’s growing use of Iranian-made drones, which explode on impact and are easier to shoot down, as Western analysts say Moscow’s stockpiles of precision missiles are running low. While Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with drones for use in Ukraine, US officials have said the first batch of such weapons was delivered in August.

Drones flew over office buildings and apartment buildings in central Kyiv, visible from the streets below and adding a chill of dread. Soldiers at checkpoints or other positions in the city opened fire with their rifles.

Among the dead was a young couple, including a six-month pregnant woman, pulled from the rubble of a residential building, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

After dark, air raid sirens sounded again in Kyiv and beyond, as Ukrainian officials said air defense systems again targeted Russian drones.

“Stay in the shelters! Take care of yourself and your loved ones,” Kyiv province governor Oleksiy Kuleba wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Monday’s strikes were just the latest to target the capital, just over a week after Kyiv came under heavy attack from Russian missiles.

Yulia Oleksandrivna, 86, huddled in a basement with her young grandson on Monday morning. She said anger was too soft a word to describe how she felt. A retired teacher, she had lived through the Second World War, fleeing her hometown in Russia with her family at the age of 5 and a half.

“The siren sound that we have these days, I’ve known that sound since I was a kid,” she said. “At the beginning and at the end of my life, this is the music of my life.”

At least two more explosions hit around 8:15 a.m. Thick white smoke blanketed parts of central Kyiv with an acrid burning smell. The city remained under air alert for nearly three hours.

Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

“I was smoking on my balcony, and one came through,” said Vladislav Khokhlov, a cosmetologist who lives in a 13th-floor apartment. He said he saw what looked like a small metallic triangle buzzing not much higher than the rooftops, making the sound of a chainsaw.

An explosion hit a residential building. Shortly after rescuers recovered a body from the rubble, Kyiv’s mayor stood in front of the damaged four-storey block.

“That’s the real face of this war,” Klitschko said.

A few feet away, the body of a woman lay in a half-open black body bag. An investigator held his thin wrist, covered in dirt and debris, then crossed his arms over his body.

In an area of ​​central Kyiv, plumes of smoke from fires rose on both sides of a street. “How awful,” said Anna Chugai, a retiree.

“Again! It happens now all the time,” she said.

Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

An apparent target of the strikes, a municipal heating station, appeared untouched. The soldiers had opened fire with their rifles when the drones approached, said Viktor Turbayev, manager of a department store a block away.

“They want us to freeze,” he said of continued Russian attacks on electricity, heating and other key services.

Underground, a hushed community of families has formed in the safety of subway stations, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the Russian invasion in February. The mothers were sitting with the children, playing cards. Some women lay infants to sleep on mats. For a while the passing trains woke the children and they cried, until they fell into such a deep sleep that the noise no longer bothered them.

Anastasia Havryliuk, 34, said she takes her daughter to work almost every day now, so they can rush to a bomb shelter together if the air raid sirens sound.

“I can’t imagine it without me in the bomb shelter,” she said.