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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Explosion in central Kyiv amid airstrike warning.

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Ukrainian officials say they shot down more than a dozen drones in a Russian attack on the capital Kyiv early Wednesday morning. An explosion rocked the center of the Shevchenkivsky district as air defense systems shot down an alleged Iranian-made Shahid drone. Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October. Kyiv Governor Oleksiy Kuleva also accused Russia of “continuing energy terrorism against our country” in the latest drone strikes. However, Ukrenergo, the manager of the National Energy Grid, said Wednesday’s attack did not damage any energy assets and praised the “great job of the air defense forces” in a post on his Telegram account.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces shot down 13 of his Shahid drones. Klebba said debris from the drone hit the city’s administrative office and four homes. However, a spokesman for the city’s emergency services told Ukrainian media that no casualties were reported in the strike. “The rumbling sound was like a moped,” she said. “It fell behind houses and then there was a strong roar, an explosion,” she added: “Winter is coming. How can people survive? Lord, what do they want from us? They won’t let the Ukrainians live.” “Let this Putin die,” he said. “I haven’t done anything to him, but he does this to me.” The strike occurred when UN Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths was in Kyiv after visiting the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson. He told the BBC it was a reminder that Ukraine “still suffers from war, not just on the front lines, but across the country”.

Griffiths added that there is an urgent need to help Ukraine restore its energy supply by providing it with generators, as “electricity is the gateway to life.” Without it, I can’t keep myself warm, I can’t get treatment at the hospital, I can’t go to school, and I don’t have the means of transportation.” World leaders have said attacks on civilian infrastructure are war crimes, but last week Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the attacks, saying that the bridge to Crimea, which Russia annexed on Oct. He said it was in response to the explosion in The attack comes amid reports that the US is preparing to arm Ukraine with a state-of-the-art Patriot air defense system. A senior defense official told Reuters the announcement could come as early as Thursday.

This system is one of the most advanced systems in the world and is usually in short supply. Given its long-range capabilities, it could potentially shoot down Russian missiles and drones before they get within range of Ukrainian cities. Meanwhile, Ukraine says it has secured the release of 64 soldiers captured by Russia earlier this year in fighting in the eastern Donbas region. President Zelensky’s secretary general, Andriy Yermak, also said the authorities had obtained the release of US citizen Suede Mulekezi. He was released from Russian custody in October but was prevented from leaving Donetsk by Moscow authorities because he did not have an identity card.

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