Iran-Made Drones Pummel Ukraine's Capital, With Over A Dozen Shot Down
Multiple blasts rocked the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday morning in a predawn raid, sending residents across Kiev into bomb shelters and underground metro stations as air sirens blared. The sirens rang out while the attack occurred for over half an hour as drones hovered under the cover of darkness.
Ukrainian officials said air defense systems were activated against the inbound suicide drones, and claimed to have shot down a total of 13. Mayor Vitali Klitschko identified them as Shahed drones which reportedly targeted the city's energy infrastructure.
Aftermath of the shot down drone in one of the districts of #Kyiv this morning. pic.twitter.com/dqoQ3t2pbJ— Maria Drutska 🇺🇦 (@maria_drutska) December 14, 2022
Klitschko cited explosions in the central Shevchenkivskyi district, with resulting damage to two administrative buildings, but no casualties have been reported. It was the first significant Russian assault on the capital in days.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said in the attack aftermath that "The air defenses worked well," detailing that "Thirteen (drones) were shot down." President Zelensky in follow-up told his forces: "Well done, I am proud," in a brief video message hailing the performance of the air defense units.
These attacks are expected to hasten Biden administration decision-making surrounding whether to send Patriot anti-air missile defense systems to the Ukrainians, marking a significant escalation with Russia. However, even if Patriots for Ukraine are approved, it's likely to take multiple months for them to deploy on the battlefield, given also the Ukrainians would have to be trained on their operation.
Heavy fighting has continued to unfold this week in Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.
Bakhmut, Ukraine. The city is in the line of fire, and attacked and shelled by thousands of invaders every day.— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 13, 2022
Neither winter nor fires will break our spirit.
📷Chris McGrath pic.twitter.com/FCqKZ7txAz
Meanwhile, the UK is joining US-led efforts to disrupt the Iran to Moscow weapons pipeline amid these ongoing drone assaults on Ukrainian cities.
The UK's Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced Tuesday new sanctions on both Russian and Iranian military commanders. "Intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Those responsible must be held to account," a statement said.
Via Al Jazeera: The latest waves of aerial attacks over the last month have appeared to target primarily the national energy grid as Ukraine heads into a frigid winter...
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said this was in response to Tehran "striking sordid deals" with Moscow "in a desperate attempt to survive" - detailing further that it is Iranian-manufactured drones continuing to play a "central role" in Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure.