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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv drone attacks, prisoner exchange, plane crash

by Asami TerajimaOctober 18, 2022 12:51 am
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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv drone attacks, prisoner exchange, plane crashUkrainian firefighters work on a destroyed building after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images)

Warning: This story contains a graphic image that some readers may find disturbing.

Russia attacked Ukrainian cities with kamikaze drones on Oct. 17, killing civilians and leaving swathes of land cut off from electricity. 

Here are the key developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine on Oct. 17:

Kyiv struck with kamikaze drones for the first time.

At least four people were killed and three wounded in the capital on Oct. 17. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that 28 drones attacked the city. Most of the incoming drones were shot down but several got through the air defenses. Sixteen families’ apartments were destroyed, according to Klitschko. 

Russia struck the same downtown district as on Oct. 10, when it launched a missile targeting a thermal plant in the area. 

Firefighters who were trying to rescue people were among the hospitalized. 

Locations outside Kyiv were targeted by drones as well. Out of 43 Russian drones that attacked Ukraine in the night and morning of Oct. 17, 37 were downed, air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said.

Condemning Russia’s morning attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 25 settlements in Ukraine were hit by Russia today. He urged the world to provide Ukraine with more advanced air defense systems. 

Pregnant woman killed in Russia’s drone attack on Kyiv.

Among those killed by Russia’s Oct. 17 drone attack on Kyiv was a young woman who was six months pregnant. She was killed alongside her husband and their cat. Their bodies were found under the rubble of the destroyed building in central Kyiv. 

The woman was identified as Viktoria Zamchenko. She was a sommelier at Goodwine, a high-end grocery store and wine retailer in Kyiv. In a tribute to her on social media, Goodwine said that Zamchenko was "an incredibly kind and sensitive person" who “sincerely loved wine and her work.” 

Residential areas in northern Sumy Oblast hit with missiles. 

Three Russian missiles hit a residential building in northeastern Sumy Oblast on Oct. 17, regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi reported. According to the official, five people were killed and 14 wounded.

The pre-dawn attack also caused power outages in the region, with more than 1,600 households cut off from electricity as of morning. 

Ukraine holds another major prisoner exchange.

One hundred and eight Ukrainian women were freed from Russian captivity on Oct. 17 in an exchange brokered by the president’s office.

The released Ukrainian prisoners include 37 soldiers from Azovstal, 11 officers, and 85 privates and sergeants, and 12 civilians. It’s the first exchange where all the released prisoners are women.

Hundreds of Ukrainian towns, villages cut off from electricity.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Oct. 17 that hundreds of settlements were cut off from electricity due to Russia’s recent attacks across the country. He said that Russia attacked energy infrastructure in Kyiv, as well as in northeastern Sumy Oblast and central Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Shmyhal said that the authorities were working to repair the infrastructure. 

Ukraine urges the EU to impose sanctions on Iran.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Oct. 17 called upon the EU to impose sanctions on Iran, a country which Ukraine and the U.S. accuse of supplying Russia with the kamikaze drones that it has been using to hit Kyiv and other cities. 

The minister also called for tough sanctions on Moscow in his address to EU leaders from a bomb shelter, saying that “the ninth EU sanctions package on Russia must be strong.” 

Meanwhile, Iran once again denied providing Russia with kamikaze drones or any other weapons. 

“The published news about Iran providing Russia with drones has political ambitions and it's circulated by western sources,” Iranian Foreign ministry's spokeswoman said at a briefing. 

While it's not exactly clear how many more of such drones Russia possesses, President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that Moscow ordered 2,400 pieces of kamikaze drones from Iran, citing Kyiv's intelligence. 

Several EU foreign ministers called to impose sanctions against Iran over its involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Forensic police examine two bodies found at the scene after a "kamikaze drone" attack early on Oct. 17, 2022. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

187 bodies exhumed from a mass burial site in Lyman, Donetsk Oblast.

A regional police department spokeswoman said on Oct. 17 that the bodies of 152 civilians and 35 military personnel had been exhumed from a mass burial site in the liberated city of Lyman so far. 

Forty-three mass graves were discovered across the liberated territories of Donetsk Oblast, Oleksandra Havrylko said. 

Russian forces advance toward Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.

Ukraine’s General Staff reported late on Oct. 17 that the Russian army is persistently trying to conduct an offensive toward Bakhmut and Avdiivka in eastern Donetsk Oblast. 

Elite Wagner Group, infamously known as the Kremlin’s private military force, is fighting to seize Bakhmut, an advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister said on TV. The official suggested that it means that the Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is desperate to show “at least some kind of victory” to impress Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zelensky called Bakhmut and Soledar “the key hot spots” on the eastern front in his evening address on Oct. 16.

Capturing Bakhmut has long been Moscow’s next target in their stalled advance after seizing Lysychansk, the last Ukrainian holdout in neighboring Luhansk Oblast, in July.

Across Ukraine, Russian forces launched nine missile strikes and 39 airstrikes on Oct. 17, according to Ukraine’s General Staff. 

A Russian military plane crashes into an apartment building in southern Russia.

A Russian fighter jet crashed into a nine-story apartment building in the southern city of Yeysk in Russia, killing at least four people, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported. Six people were reported missing and 25 wounded. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed the crash was due to a fire breaking out in one of the plane’s engines during takeoff.

Videos shared online by witnesses showed the building engulfed by fire. 

Asami Terajima
Asami Terajima
National reporter

Asami Terajima is a national reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She previously worked as a business reporter for the Kyiv Post focusing on international trade, infrastructure, investment and energy.

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