- By James Landal in Kiev and Laura Josey in London
- BBC News
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence warned against a quick response to a series of Russian missile strikes on Kiev.
Gen. Kirillo Budanov said Monday’s attacks failed to frighten people in the capital who had just lived.
Officials said all the rockets were shot down and there were no reports of casualties.
But the flaming debris from the intercepted missiles fell in residential areas in central Kiev.
Monday’s attack followed two nights of intense drone strikes, the latest in some 16 air strikes on the Ukrainian capital this month.
The latest was unusual in that it came during the day and appears to have been aimed at the city centre, while other strikes on Kiev in May were at night and directed at key infrastructure or air defenses on the outskirts.
General Budanov said he wanted to “stir up” Russia’s supporters by telling them that people in Kiev were not deterred by the attack and continued to act after it.
“All those who tried to intimidate us dreamed that this would have an effect that you will regret very soon,” he said in a statement published by the Ukrainian Ministry of Intelligence. “Our answer will not be long in coming.”
According to reports, only one person was injured and all the missiles were destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses. The Russian authorities claimed that all of their targets had been hit.
Reportedly, air raid sirens sounded in several other Ukrainian regions.
Local military leaders in Kiev accused Russia of changing tactics and deliberately targeting the civilian population. It certainly seems that Moscow wants to increase its pressure on Ukraine before any counterattack.
Oleksandr Shcherba, ambassador-at-large at Ukraine’s foreign ministry, told the BBC the past few days had been very difficult for Kyiv residents.
“Almost every night, the sky looks like another Star Wars episode, but we don’t feel that many Russian missiles hit their targets here within the city area. And all this is thanks to the kind countries, respected people in the world who gave us this air defense.”
Living in the capital is not a normal thing right now, Mr. Sherpa said, adding that drone attacks and sleepless nights have become “part of our routine”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday praised his country’s air defense forces after Kiev suffered its biggest drone attack since the war began.
“You are heroes,” Zelensky said, after military leaders said most of the drones launched by Russia had been shot down.
In its latest attacks, Russia — which launched its all-out invasion in February 2022 — has used kamikaze drones as well as an array of cruise and ballistic missiles.
Analysts say Moscow is seeking to deplete and destroy Ukraine’s air defenses before its long-awaited counterattack.
Ukraine had been planning a counterattack for months. But she wanted as much time as possible to train troops and receive military equipment from the Western allies.
On Monday, the governor said in Russia’s Belgorod region that Ukrainian forces had shelled several border settlements simultaneously.
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