By Max Hunder and Dan Peleschuk
KYIV (Reuters) – One woman was killed and at least 11 other people were hurt on Tuesday as Russia unleashed its third air attack in 24 hours on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the city’s mayor said.
Officials in the city said more than 20 Russian drones had been shot down in what Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv military administration, called a massive attack that came in several waves from different directions.
Kyiv came under fire before a drone attack on Moscow which Russia blamed on Ukraine.
Police said the dead woman was 33. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said she had been on her balcony watching air defences in action when debris from a damaged drone hit her 24-storey tower block, starting a fire that destroyed apartments on the upper floors.
“The probability of aerial attacks is very high. Therefore, I urge the citizens of Kyiv not to neglect their own safety, not to ignore air raid sirens!” Klitschko said.
He said four other people in the building were injured, and 20 residents were evacuated. Photos from the scene showed flames bursting out from the top floors and smoke rising from the roof.
Russia has carried out 17 air attacks on Kyiv this month, mostly at night. Ukrainian officials say the strikes are intended to sow fear and wear down air defences before an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The Kyiv military administration said Russia had used only Iranian-made Shahed drones in Tuesday’s attack. Reuters was not able to independently verify the report and it was not immediately known how many drones Russia launched.
Falling debris hit several districts, Klitschko said, including the historic Podil and Pechersk neighbourhoods in central Kyiv and the Holosiivskyi district in Kyiv’s southwest. The extent of the damage was being assessed.
(Additional reporting by Valentyn Ogirenko, Olena Harmash, Lidia Kelly and Gleb Garanich; Editing by Stephen Coates and Timothy Heritage)