The Ukrainian military announced on Thursday that it shot down 29 of 30 Russian missiles launched in nighttime air strikes, although one civilian was killed in an attack on the southern city of Odesa.
During the ninth strike on the city this month, black smoke covered the sky over Kyiv. Falling debris from missiles struck by air defenses sparked fires in eastern Kyiv, inflicting minor damage but no injuries, according to officials.
Ukraine’s military said the barrage of 30 missiles launched by Russia overnight included cruise missiles fired from the sea, air and land, and that two Iranian-made Shahed attack drones and two reconnaissance drones had been knocked out.
“All targets over Kyiv were shot down,” General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said in a statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.
A witness in Kyiv in a blue jacket who did not give his name said: “There was a very powerful explosion. Then I saw the smoke. I found out that the debris fell on the garages, my one is nearby. I see the rocket debris now.”
Officials in Odesa said an unspecified industrial facility had been struck when a missile crashed to the ground after being hit by air defences, killing one person and wounding two.
Russia, which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has stepped up air strikes in recent weeks as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to try to take back occupied territory.
After particularly heavy air strikes on Kyiv on Tuesday, Ukraine said it had shot down six Russian “Kinzhal” missiles. Moscow later denied losing six of the hypersonic missiles which it has touted as all but unstoppable.
Russia said it had destroyed a U.S.-made Patriot missile defence system during Tuesday’s attacks but Ukraine denied this.
Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said on Thursday the Patriot system was still being used by Kyiv.
“Therefore, I ask everyone to remain calm. The air defense is working and will continue to offer protection,” he told Ukrainian television.