Sunday, 26 November 2023 04:50

What to know after Day 640 of Russia-Ukraine war

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Five wounded in Kyiv by largest drone attack yet on Ukraine

Ukraine's capital suffered what officials said was Russia's largest drone attack of the war on Saturday, leaving five people wounded as the rumble of air defences and explosions woke residents at sunrise after a week of intensifying attacks.

Saturday's six-hour air raid, on the day Ukraine commemorates the 1932-33 Holodomor famine that killed several million people, began hitting different districts of Kyiv in the early hours, with more waves coming as the sun rose.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that over the course of the week, Russia had carried out 911 attacks across the country, killing 19 Ukrainians and wounding 84.

"The enemy is intensifying its attacks, trying to destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians," he said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. It was doing so deliberately, "just like 90 years ago, when Russia killed millions of our ancestors," he said.

Ukraine's air force initially said 71 of the 75 drones had been shot down, but subsequently revised the number of downed craft to 74. Its spokesperson said on television that 66 of those had been downed over Kyiv and the surrounding region.

Air force chief Mykola Oleschuk praised the effectiveness of 'mobile fire' units - usually fast pickup trucks with a machine gun or flak cannon mounted on their flatbed. According to him, these downed nearly 40% of the drones.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko, writing on the Telegram app, said the attack had injured five people, including an 11-year-old girl, and damaged buildings in districts all across the city.

Fragments from a downed drone had started a fire in a children's nursery, he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also pointed out that the attack had come in the early hours of commemorations of the famine, which is recognized by Ukraine and over 30 other countries as a genocide by the Soviet Union, which ruled Ukraine at the time and sought to crush its desire for independence.

"Wilful terror .... The Russian leadership is proud of the fact that it can kill," he wrote on Telegram.

Moscow denies the famine deaths were caused by a deliberate genocidal policy and says that Russians and other ethnic groups also suffered.

The target of Saturday's attack was not immediately clear, but Ukraine has warned in recent weeks that Russia will once again wage an aerial campaign to destroy Ukraine's energy system, as it sought to do last winter.

Ukraine's energy ministry said nearly 200 buildings in the capital, including 77 residential ones, had been left without power as a result of the attack.

"It looks like tonight we heard the overture. The prelude to the winter season," Serhiy Fursa, a prominent Ukrainian economist, wrote on Facebook.



Russian drone destroys fortified Ukrainian position

A video from a First Person View (FPV) drone, obtained by RT, has captured the moment a Russian kamikaze drone dismantles a fortified Ukrainian position near the town of Soledar in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The clip, released on Saturday, illustrates the skill of the Russian operator, who was able to fly the explosive-laden quad-copter UAV directly through the door leading into the outpost.

It also includes footage of the incident from another angle, showing the explosion caused by the drone.

Russian forces took Soledar in the northeastern portion of the DPR under their control in January after heavy fighting. The city is some 15 kilometers away from Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), the venue of the largest battle in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, which ended with a Russian victory in May.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Ukrainian troops operating assault drones in the east of Donetsk were expressing concerns over Russia’s advantage in the number of UAVs.

“Their drones are always in the air, day and night. We can see they’ve implemented serial production of drones for reconnaissance, surveillance, and for strikes,” one of the troops was cited as saying.

According to his estimates, regarding UAVs, Russia had around double what Ukraine had in that part of the front. “Drones are a game changer in this war. If we mess this up, things will be difficult,” the Ukrainian soldier warned.

** Air defenses destroy 11 Ukrainian drones over four Russian regions

Russian air defenses have destroyed 11 unmanned aerial vehicles over the Moscow, Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk regions, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. "The Kiev regime’s attempt to use fixed-wing drones to carry out a terrorist attack on targets in Russia was foiled in the early hours of Sunday. On-duty air defenses destroyed 11 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles over the Moscow, Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk regions," the statement reads.

Bryansk Region Governor Alexander Bogomaz said on Telegram that two drones had been shot down over the region.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said earlier that air defenses had thwarted a major drone attack on the capital, dowing unmanned aerial vehicles near the town of Naro-Fominsk and the Odintsovsky Urban District outside Moscow, as well as in another three neighboring regions.



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