KYIV, Ukraine — Russia targeted the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, with another wave of attack drones early Tuesday, killing at least one person, destroying residential buildings and extending a day of terror for city residents.
For the second night in a row and the 17th this month, explosions in various parts of Kyiv jolted people out of bed and sent them into cover as Moscow launched a new attack on city of 3.6 million.
Ukraine’s Air Force said on Tuesday that air defense teams shot down 29 of 31 Iranian-made drones launched by Russia overnight, most of which were targeted at Kyiv.
A 33-year-old woman was killed by falling debris during the attack and at least 13 people were injured, Ivan Vyhivskyi, the acting chief of the National Police, said in a statement.
While Kyiv has been under attack since the early days of the war, the speed and intensity of the attacks in May was alarming even for civilians who now spend long hours in bomb shelters and sleepless nights in detention in the corridors.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, in an appearance on national television, drew the ire of many in the city. “If the Russians can make Kyiv a nightmare, why are the people of Moscow relaxing?”
Not long after Mr. Klitschko spoke, Russian officials accused Ukraine of launching a drone attack on Moscow. There was no comment from the Ukrainian military, which maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity about the Russian strikes. But Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said Kyiv was not “directly involved.”
Yulia Honcharova, a resident of Kyiv, reacted to the news of the attack in Moscow with a mixture of anger and defiance. “I’m not one of those who believe that we should bomb their homes at night, but I want them to feel what it’s like to live under constant alarms like the people who live in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro,” he said .
Ukrainian officials said the concentrated attack on Kyiv was likely aimed at wearing out air defense systems to make the capital more vulnerable and at the expense of civilians.
Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said the city’s people were freaking out over attacks separated by hours, not days.
“In the last 24 hours, the enemy has carried out three attacks,” he said on Tuesday morning.
Before dawn on Tuesday, Russia targeted Kyiv with more than three dozen drones and cruise missiles fired from multiple directions to try to confuse air defense systems. Then, less than six hours later, Moscow launched an extraordinary daytime barrage of ballistic missiles on the city, sending residents, including schoolchildren carrying their backpacks, running for cover.
The largely successful work of Ukraine’s air defense teams this month has saved many lives and limited damage from strikes.
But drones and missiles still pose a danger to civilians as debris rains down on the streets below.
“Everything that is destroyed in the sky, unfortunately, flies to the ground and causes suffering to people,” Mykola Oleschuk, commander of Ukraine’s air force, said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
Russia has stepped up its attack on Kyiv as Ukraine prepares for a counter-offensive.
Mr. Zelensky, in his overnight speech in the country on Monday, said that each “terrorist attack” against the capital and other cities “brings us and the whole world to a clear conclusion: Russia wants to follow the path of evil until finally.”
Vowing to respond to Russia’s aggression on the battlefield, Mr. Zelensky said his government had approved dates for the start of offensive operations.
“Decisions have been made,” he said.
Anna Lukinova and Natalia Novosolova contributed reporting.