Russia fired its biggest barrage of loitering munitions to date at Ukraine overnight as Kyiv prepares to commemorate victims of the 1930s famine orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin to force Ukrainian peasants onto collective farms.
Ukraine’s air defense said it shot down 71 of 75 Shahed-131/136 drones aimed mainly toward the capital region and launched from two directions within Russia. It also shot down one Russian Kh-59 cruise missile in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine’s east.
The air alert in Kyiv lasted for about six hours. More than 30,000 people lost electricity in the capital region and in the Cherkady region of central Ukraine, the energy ministry said in an e-mailed statement, as temperatures dipped to around freezing.
“As temperatures drop below zero in Ukraine, Russia cynically sends waves of Iranian drones to attack the capital and the country,” Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Falling debris from a drone set a fire in a kindergarten, some apartment buildings were damaged and five people were wounded, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
Ukraine on Saturday is commemorating the 90th anniversary of a yearlong famine, known as the Holodomor, which resulted in the deaths of at least 7 million people in 1932-1933.
The forced starvation, which was kept out of history books until Ukraine got independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has been recognized as an act of genocide by 28 countries and three international organizations. Russia denies it was man-made and claims the famine resulted from drought.
Today “it was a deliberate terror,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a post on Telegram of the overnight attacks. “Russia’s leadership appears to be proud of its ability to kill people.”
Image credits: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images