KYIV – Russia launched its first-ever attack on the Ukrainian capital using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones early on Oct. 17, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported.
A fire broke out in a non-residential building in the central Shevchenkivskyi district while several residential buildings were damaged, according to the mayor.
The bodies of four civilians, including a six months pregnant woman, have been found under the rubbles of the residential building, Klitschko reported.
The drone attack comes exactly a week after Russia’s massive barrage of missile strikes during Monday rush hour claimed at least 20 lives nationwide. Kyiv was among the cities hit, breaking the relative peace the capital’s residents had enjoyed since the last missile strike in late June.
Kamikaze drones struck Kyiv Oblast for the first time on Oct. 5, hitting an undisclosed building in Bila Tserkva, located some 75 kilometers south of the capital. Until today, Kyiv had remained untouched by the Iranian-made drones that Russia has increasingly used to strike targets across Ukraine.
Publishing a photo of destroyed metal plates and black electrical wires, the mayor said “the wreckage of one of the kamikaze drones that attacked Kyiv this morning.”
“Enemies can attack our cities, but they won't break us,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.
Cheaper than cruise missiles, Russia has intensified its attacks using kamikaze drones in recent weeks against Kyiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia, and other cities across Ukraine.
Russia is increasingly relying on loitering munitions to attack Ukraine's energy infrastructures.
Earlier last week, the Russian-operated drones struck the same thermal plant in western Vinnytsia Oblast on Oct. 10 and 11, energy company DTEK said. Moscow openly admitted that Ukraine's energy infrastructures are among its key "designated targets."
Russia also launched several attacks on Odesa's city center, forcing residents to run to nearby underground shelters.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said northeastern Sumy Oblast and central Dnipropetrovsk Oblast were also attacked by the drones this morning.
Of the 43 Russian-operated kamikaze drones that attacked Ukraine, 37 were downed, air force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said on Oct. 17.
On Oct. 16, Ukraine downed 11 kamikaze drones within an hour. Ukraine is shooting down around 75% of kamikaze drones, according to Ukraine's Air Force.
Ukraine and the U.S. have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Russia.
The Washington Post reported, citing U.S. officials, that Russian cargo planes carrying combat drones left Tehran in mid-August. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, on Oct. 15, once again denied allegations, and Russia has not commented. Kyiv has presented parts of the Russian-used Iranian drones downed over Ukraine.
The U.K. intelligence said the Iranian drones are "slow and fly at low altitudes" with a small explosive payload, unable to fulfill "the deep strike function which Russia probably aspired to use it for."
While it's not exactly clear how many more of such drones Russia still possesses, President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that Moscow ordered 2,400 pieces of kamikaze drones from Iran, citing Kyiv's intelligence. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the topic at a meeting in Luxembourg on Oct. 17.