Zelensky admits he ‘doesn’t care’ if Putin will survive war
Dramatic photographs appear to show an Iranian-built “kamikaze” drone detonating in a Kyiv street, as part of Vladimir Putin’s latest vicious attack on the Ukrainian capital. The first show a distinctive Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hurtling downwards, while the second shows the aftermath – with a man knocked to the ground by the force of the blast.
It is unclear whether he was injured, but another explosion at an apartment building elsewhere in the city resulted in the deaths of at least four people, including a pregnant woman.
The United States responded by warning it would hold Russia accountable for “war crimes”, the White House said on Monday.
Russian forces also targeted infrastructure across the country in the second wave of air strikes in a week.
Ukrainian soldiers fired into the air trying to shoot down the drones after blasts rocked central Kyiv while an anti-aircraft rocket could be seen streaking into the morning sky, followed by an explosion and orange flames, as residents raced for shelter.
The Iranian drone (inset) detonated in Kyiv causing massive damage
Ukraine: The blast was one of several to rock the city
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said there had been deaths in other cities but did not provide a full toll.
Black smoke poured out of the windows of the Kyiv apartment building and emergency service workers toiled to douse flames.
Vitalii Dushevskiy, 29, a food delivery courier who rents an apartment in the building, said:”I have never been so afraid…It is murder, it is simply murder.”
His flatmate, who gave his name only as Nazar, said they had tried to leave only to find the staircase “all gone”.
READ MORE: Military aircraft smashes into residential building in Russia
Ukraine: The drone in the sky
Nearby, Elena Mazur, 52, was searching for her mother, who had managed to call her to say she was buried under rubble, explaining: “She is not picking up the phone.”
Ukraine said the attacks were carried out by Iran-made “kamikaze drones”, which fly to their target and detonate. The US State Department said Iran was violating UN Security Council resolution 2231 by supplying drones to Russia.
Russia’s defence ministry claimed to have carried out a “massive” attack on military targets and energy infrastructure with high-precision weapons.
Writing on Telegram, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “Terror must lose and will lose and Ukraine will prevail.
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Ukraine: Firefighters on the scene after one of the blasts
Ukraine: Iran has been accused of backing Russian “terrorism”
“And it will bring to justice every Russian terrorist, from commanders to privates who carried out criminal orders.”
One drone fragment apparently bore the words: “For Belgorod” – an apparent reference to Ukrainian shelling of a Russian border region.The strikes took place a week after Russia unleashed its heaviest aerial bombardment of Kyiv and other cities since the start of the war, also during morning rush hour.
Alla Voloshko, a 47-year-old lawyer who took shelter in the basement of her apartment block, said: “This is already a tradition: to wake Ukrainians with missiles on Mondays.”
Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed 37 Russian drones since Sunday evening, or roughly 85 percent of those used in attacks.
Ukraine/Russia territorial disputes mapped
A drone attack also hit the Everi marine terminal in the southern port city of Mykolaiv on Sunday night, officials said, damaging sunflower storage tanks and setting leaking oil aflame.
Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, launched on Feb. 24 and including the biggest annexation of territory in Europe since World War Two.
Iran on Monday repeated its denial that it is supplying drones to Russia. The Kremlin has not commented.
Writing on Twitter, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said: “Iran is responsible for the murders of Ukrainians. Country that oppresses its own people is now giving ru-monsters (Russians) weapons for mass murders in the heart of Europe.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky
Several EU foreign ministers have a called for sanctions against Iran over the transfer of drones to Russia.
Meanwhile US President Joe Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House “strongly condemns Russia’s missile strikes today” and said the attack “continues to demonstrate (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s brutality”.
Noting a new, $725 million military aid package announced for Ukraine last Friday, she added: “We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.
“We will continue to impose costs on Russia, hold them accountable for its war crimes.”