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Russia Unleashes More Drones on Kyiv, Sowing Fear and Bringing Death – The New York Times – 17.10.22

“What a horror,” said a Ukrainian retiree, as plumes of smoke rose from a central Kyiv street. “Again!” she said. “This is now happening all the time.” By Andrew E. Kramer, Megan Specia, Maria Varenikova and Eric Nagourney

KYIV, Ukraine — They are slow flying and relatively easy to shoot down, but exploding drones were launched by Russia in such numbers on Monday that they nevertheless spread fear and death across the Ukrainian capital.

Around 7 a.m. on a crystalline fall day, as residents of Kyiv were preparing for work and children were waking up, the drones could be seen flying low over office buildings and apartment blocks in the center of the city. Some police officers fired at them with their rifles.Then the explosions began.

By the end of the attack, at least four people in Kyiv had been killed. Among them were a young couple who were pulled from the wreckage of a residential building, according to the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko. The woman was six months pregnant.

“This is the true face of this war,” Mr. Klitschko said.

Steps away, the body of a woman lay in a half-zipped black body bag. An investigator held her thin wrist, covered in dirt and debris, and then folded her arms across her body.

In all, Russia launched at least 43 self-destructing Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones across Ukraine on Monday morning, according to Ukraine’s air force. Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with drones for use in Ukraine, but the weapons began appearing there about two months ago.

On Monday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, condemned Iran for giving Russia “weapons for mass murders in the heart of Europe.”

In Luxembourg, as Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod of Denmark and his European Union counterparts prepared to meet, he declared, “This is an atrocity.”

Kyiv had largely been spared as the fighting moved to the country’s eastern and southern regions. Then a week ago, the capital came under a sustained missile assault. For many residents, the resumption of attacks echoed the earliest days of the invasion in February, when Kyiv was a primary target.

“What a horror,” said Anna Chugai, a retiree, as plumes of smoke rose from both sides of a central Kyiv street. “Again!” she said. “This is now happening all the time.”

Below ground, a hushed community of families has formed once more in the safety of subway stations. Mothers sit with children, playing cards. Some women put infants to sleep on mats, though the children sometimes wake in tears as trains pass by.

These days, said Anastasia Havryliuk, she generally takes her daughter to work so they can dash together to a bomb shelter if the air raid sirens blare. “I can’t imagine her being without me in the bomb shelter,” said Ms. Havryliuk, 34.

The attacks appeared to once again focus on infrastructure. The targets included the headquarters of Ukraine’s national energy utility and a municipal heating station. “They want us to freeze,” said Viktor Turbayev, a building manager for a department store a block away.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that its forces had used “high-precision air- and sea-based weapons” to attack military command points and energy infrastructure across Ukraine. The ministry said that it had hit “all designated targets.”

But in the latest sign that Moscow may be running low on sophisticated weaponry like cruise missiles, the assault on the capital appeared to rely heavily on the drones.

In earlier strikes, destruction had arrived in Kyiv like a bolt from the blue, with missiles streaking in at tremendous speeds. On Monday, residents could follow the track of the drone threat just by looking overhead or listening for their moped-like sound.

“I was smoking on my balcony, and one flew by,” said Vladislav Khokhlov, a cosmetologist who lives in a 13th-floor apartment.

As the drones appeared, residents of Kyiv were at once defiant and buffeted by fear. Instead of heading to classrooms, children, some already dressed in their school uniforms, made their way to basements to take shelter just as they had a week ago.

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Russia Unleashes More Drones on Kyiv, Sowing Fear and Bringing Death – The New York Times
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Andrew E. Kramer, Megan Specia and Maria Varenikova reported from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Eric Nagourney from New York. Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Donetsk, Ukraine, Ivan Nechepurenko from Tbilisi, Georgia, and Michael Schwirtz from Kyiv.

Andrew E. Kramer is a reporter covering the countries of the former Soviet Union. He was part of a team that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for a series on Russia’s covert projection of power. @AndrewKramerNYT

Megan Specia is a correspondent on the International Desk in London, covering the United Kingdom and Ireland. She has been with The Times since 2016. @meganspecia

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 18, 2022, Section A, Page 6 of the New York edition with the headline: Russia Unleashes Drones To Strike Targets in Kyiv, Bringing Death and Fear. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Smoke billowing from the site of an explosive drone strike in Kyiv on Monday.Credit...Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

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