KYIV (Dispatches) -- Russia attacked Ukrainian cities with drones on Monday, killing at least three people in downtown Kyiv during morning rush hour, and targeting infrastructure across the country in a second large wave of airstrikes in a week.
Ukrainian soldiers fired into the air trying to shoot down the drones after blasts rocked central Kyiv. An anti-aircraft rocket could be seen streaking into the morning sky, followed by an explosion and orange flames, as residents raced for shelter.
Ukraine said the attacks were carried out by ‘suicide drones’, which fly to their target and detonate. Russia’s defense ministry said it had carried out a “massive” attack on military targets and energy infrastructure across Ukraine using high-precision weapons.
Reuters said it saw pieces of a drone used in the attack that bore the words: “For Belgorod” - an apparent reference to Ukrainian shelling of a Russian region bordering Ukraine.
The strikes came exactly one week after Russia unleashed its heaviest aerial bombardment of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities since the start of the war.
“This is already a tradition: to wake Ukrainians with missiles on Mondays,” said Alla Voloshko, a 47-year-old lawyer who took shelter in the basement of her apartment block.
Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday evening, or around 85% of those used in attacks.
A drone attack hit the Everi marine terminal in the southern city of Mykolaiv late on Sunday, officials said, damaging sunflower storage tanks and setting aflame leaking oil.
Russia has accused Ukraine of hitting targets in Belgorod region near the border. Pro-Russian news sources on Telegram reported that Ukraine had struck Belgorod’s airport overnight. There was no immediate comment from Kyiv, which typically does not comment on incidents in Russia.
Elsewhere on Monday, renewed Russian shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, caused it to be disconnected again from Ukraine’s power grid, Ukrainian state energy firm Energoatom said.
The plant, which has often been shelled during the war, is occupied by Russian forces but operated by Ukrainian staff.
Russia has long blamed Kyiv for shelling at the plant.
In southern central Ukraine, a large fire broke out at an energy facility in the Dnipropetrovsk region after an overnight missile hit, a local official said.
Russia’s defense ministry said on Monday its forces had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to breach their defenses in the southern Kherson region.
Ukrainian forces, helped by Western arms, have clawed back territory in Kherson region - strategically vital as it links Crimea to the rest of Ukraine - and in parts of the northeast in a major counter-offensive over the past two months.