Kyiv reported that in the southeastern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, at least two emergency responders lost their lives, and seven others sustained injuries following Russian airstrikes.
Russia launched a series of drone attacks on the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv early on Sunday (Nov 19) for the second night in a row as it ramps up attacks after several weeks of pause, said the city’s administration.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a fresh round of sanctions against Russian officials and groups, which he said are aimed at fighting wartime abductions of Ukrainian children and other “Russian terror”.
According to the Ukrainian police, Russia fired a series of rockets at the village of Komyshuvakha close to the Ukrainian frontline region of Zaporizhzhia, which Moscow annexed last year.
Speaking about the incident, they said, “As a result of the first two strikes, four local residents were injured and a fire broke out in a residential building.”
“When the police and rescuers arrived at the scene, Russians conducted another strike. Two emergency service workers were killed and three more were injured,” it added.
Increase in number of drone attacks
The attack in Zaporizhzhia also came as the Ukrainian air force said Russia fired 38 drones at its territory overnight which is said to be the highest reported number in more than six weeks.
Ukraine’s air force said Saturday it shot down 29 of the 38 Iranian-made Shahed drones fired by Russia which were said to be packed with explosives and would detonate upon reaching their targets.
Ukraine’s emergency services said that one of the drones hit an energy facility in the southern Odesa region, resulting in a fire that was quickly extinguished. The attack has left around 2,000 homes without power.
Drone attacks by Russia continued for a second night on Kyiv where Russian “UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) were launched in many groups and attacked Kyiv in waves, from different directions, at the same time constantly changing the vectors of movement along the route,” said Serhiy Popko, head of the Kyiv’s military administration, on Telegram.
“That is why the air raid alerts were announced several times in the capital,” he added.
The Ukrainian official citing preliminary information said that the war-torn country’s air defence systems hit close to 10 Shahed drones in and around Kyiv. There have been no initial reports of “critical damage” or casualties, said Popko.
Meanwhile, the Russian defence ministry said its forces had shot down 20 Ukrainian drones over Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine, and seven naval drones in the Black Sea, off Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
Zelensky announces fresh round of sanctions
The Ukrainian president has sanctioned 37 Russian groups and 108 people including former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and former minister of education and science, Dmytro Tabachnyk, who had his Ukrainian citizenship stripped from him in February.
“We are increasing the pressure of our state onto them and each of them must be held responsible for what they have done,” said Zelensky, in his nightly address after his office issued corresponding decrees with his signature.
The decrees showed a range of 10-year penalties against Russian individuals and five-year penalties against non-profit groups, reported Reuters.
The list included “those involved in the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territory” and individuals who “in various ways help Russian terror against Ukraine,” said Zelensky, during his nightly address.
However, he did not associate specific individuals or groups with particular wrongdoings. The recently sanctioned Russian groups included several whose names or websites indicate they work with children.
Kyiv has accused Moscow of taking about 20,000 children to Russia or Russian-held territory without the consent of family or guardians which the United Nations treaty defines as genocide.