Rare Daytime Strikes Send Kyiv Residents Fleeing

Bombardment follows what Ukraine calls largest drone attack since Russia invaded
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2023 2:33 PM CDT
Rare Daytime Strikes Send Kyiv Residents Fleeing
Ukrainian police officers inspect a fragment of a rocket Monday after a Russian strike on Kyiv.   (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Russia surprised Ukraine with a rare daytime missile attack on Kyiv on Monday, sending residents from the streets to bomb shelters. Air raid sirens went off just before 11am, the New York Times reports, and video posted later by Ukrainian officials showed children wearing their backpacks screaming and running to safety when the explosions began. Military officials said that the air defense system stopped all 11 ballistic and cruise missiles fired at Kyiv and that the attack might have been an attempt to overwhelm Ukraine's defenses, which are shored up by weapons from Western nations.

The strikes followed up on an overnight barrage and intense attacks early Sunday, when the city was marking the founding of the capital with Kyiv Day. The air force reported downing 37 of 40 Russian cruise missiles and 29 of 35 Iranian-made Shahed drones on Sunday night. Ukrainian officials called the assault early in the day, which involved 54 Shahed combat aerial vehicles, Russia's biggest drone attack on Kyiv so far, per the Guardian. A 41-year-old man at a gas station was killed, per CNN, and fires were sparked across the city. The head of Kyiv’s military administration said Russia wants civilians to live in a state of "deep psychological tension."

Russia seems to be changing the timing of its attacks, the combination of weapons, and the trajectories of its missiles and drones in an attempt to test Ukraine's air defenses. One official said the weapons lately have been flying low along riverbeds and through valleys to avoid being detected. The idea apparently is to "confuse and mislead our air defense system," said a spokesman for Ukraine's Air Force Command on television, using "the topography of the area to disappear from radars." Meanwhile, the system has remained largely effective in protecting Kyiv, per the Times. "As we can see, the Ukrainian air defense is getting stronger and stronger every day," spokesman Yurii Ihnat added. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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