Russia Launches Big Wave of Drone Strikes on Ukraine

A Ukrainian serviceman attends a military exercise, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

KYIV (Reuters) – Russia carried out a big wave of airstrikes on three Ukrainian regions early on Thursday in which Ukrainian officials said some attack drones had hit their targets but did not say what was damaged.

Ukrainian air defenses shot down 34 of 44 incoming “Shahed” drones, the air force said. The strikes targeted the regions of Mykolaiv and Odesa in the south and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine, the military said.

“We had an extremely difficult night,” Andriy Raikovych, Kirovohrad’s governor, wrote on social media. “Some of the Shaheds over the region were destroyed. However, there were also hits.”

There were no casualties and no damage to civilian infrastructure, he said. There were no reports of significant damage in Mykolaiv.

The Odesa region’s governor, Oleh Kiper, praised the region’s air defenses after the latest wave of Russian attacks since Moscow’s full-scale invasion over 19 months ago.

“No hits or destruction. There were no casualties. There were only a few small fires on dry grass as a result of the falling wreckage of a downed Shahed,” he said.

Forty-four is the largest number of drones Russia used for a single attack this month, official data showed.

“Fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire groups were engaged to repel the attack,” the military said.

Russia conducts regular long-range missile and drone attacks on targets in Ukraine, with recent attacks often targeting grain and port facilities and officials warning that Russia will attack energy infrastructure during the bitter cold of winter.

Kyiv, which has launched a counteroffensive against Russia’s occupying forces, has been discussing with allies how to beef up its air defenses. Those discussions included talks in Kyiv between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Britain’s new defense minister, Grant Shapps.

In an earlier statement, the governor of the Mykolaiv region said a Russian missile hit an unnamed infrastructure facility late on Wednesday on the outskirts of the city, but that the fire that broke out there was promptly extinguished.

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