Ukraine air defenses intercept Russian missiles drones over Kyiv

Russia fired missiles at targets across Ukraine in its second major air strike in three days, setting a huge blaze in a southeastern district where officials said on Monday 34 people were wounded and dozens of homes damaged overnight.

Ukraine said 15 of 18 cruise missiles were successfully shot down, shielding the capital Kyiv and other major cities where air raid sirens rang. The only reports of widespread damage were in Pavlohrad, a railway hub behind the southern and eastern fronts.

A Russian-installed official in occupied Zaporizhzhia region, posting images from Pavlohrad of the huge blaze, said Russian forces had struck military targets there.

Ukrainian officials also released images of a scorched wasteland, and said an industrial enterprise was hit, which they did not identify. Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk region council, said the attack had damaged 19 apartment blocks, 25 houses, three schools, three kindergartens and several shops.

The 34 wounded included three children, he said.

The attacks came just three days after Russia killed 23 civilians with a missile that hit a high-rise apartment building in the city of Uman, part of its first big countrywide volley of air strikes in nearly two months.

Russia appears to have returned to its winter tactic of major countrywide air strikes as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to retake occupied land in the south and east.

On Saturday, an apparent Ukrainian drone hit a fuel storage depot in Sevastopol, base of the Russian navy in Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014. Kyiv said the blaze was part of its preparations for its offensive.

After five months of a Russian assault that secured little new territory despite the bloodiest ground combat of the war, Kyiv is preparing to unleash its counterattack using hundreds of armored vehicles and tanks supplied by the West.

"Around 2:30 am (1130 GMT), the Russian invaders attacked Ukraine from strategic aviation planes," Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said.

The city administration for Kyiv said no civilian casualties or damage were reported from the overnight air strikes in the capital.

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