By SABRA AYRES Associated Press
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s capital region was struck by Iranian-made kamikaze drones early Thursday, officials said, sending rescue workers rushing to the scene as residents awoke to air raid sirens for the fourth consecutive morning following Russia’s major assault across the country earlier this week.
Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said the strike occurred in the area around the capital. It wasn’t yet clear if there were any casualties.
Deputy head of the presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram that “critical infrastructure facilities” in the area were hit, without offering any details on which ones.
In the southern city of Mykolaiv, overnight shelling destroyed a five-story apartment building as fighting continued along Ukraine’s southern front.
Mykolaiv regional governor Vitali Kim said that an 11-year-old boy was rescued from under the rubble, where he had spent six hours, and rescuers on Thursday morning were searching for seven more people, Kim said.
He said that the building was hit by an S-300 missile which is ordinarily used for targeting military aircraft, but Russians have apparently been increasingly using them for unprecise ground strikes.
Early morning attacks on Ukraine’s southern front have become a daily occurrence in Russia’s war as Kyiv’s forces push a counteroffensive aimed at recapturing territory occupied by Moscow.
Attacks on Kyiv had become rare before the capital city was hit at least four times during Monday’s massive strikes, which killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 100 across the country.
Western leaders this week pledged to send more weapons to Ukraine, including air defense systems and weapons Kyiv has said are critical to defeating the invading Russian forces.
Britain said Thursday that it will provide missiles for advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine in coming weeks. It’s also sending hundreds of additional aerial drones for information gathering and logistics support, plus 18 more howitzer artillery guns.
U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that “these weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the U.S. NASAMS.”
The systems, which Kyiv has long wanted, will provide medium- to long-range defense against missile attacks.
The offer comes as NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels, aiming to help bolster Ukraine’s aerial defenses after Monday’s widespread Russian assault.
Ukraine’s military said this week that its current air defenses have shot down dozens of incoming Russian missiles and Shahed-136 drones, the so-called kamikaze drones that have played an increasingly deadly role in the war.