Russian drone strikes in central Kyiv during morning rush hour have killed four people, the mayor says.
The deaths on Monday included a woman who was six months pregnant and her partner, both were killed when a “kamikaze” drone hit a block of flats on the edge of central Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi district, Vitali Klitschko said.
Explosions and gunfire echoed across Kyiv as security forces tried to shoot down the drones.
Klitschko first reported explosions in Shevchenkivskyi early on Monday in a Telegram post.
He said a number of residential buildings had been damaged.
“Rescuers are at the site,” Klitschko said, adding that the attack had caused a fire to break out in a non-residential building.
Thick smoke billowed up from the district, and firefighters picked through rubbles after the side of an apartment block collapsed. Rubbles continued to tumble to the ground even as they dug.
Journalists from the Agence France-Presse news agency reported two explosions at 6:35 and 6:45am (03:35 and 03:45 GMT), shortly after air raid sirens sounded. Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that there were two blasts.
The Shevchenkivskyi area is a busy part of Kyiv with universities, bars and restaurants. It was hit with several missiles a week ago as part of a Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s major cities.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said those air strikes were carried out in retaliation for an attack on the strategically important Kerch Strait Bridge, which links Russia with the occupied Crimean Peninsula.
Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s staff, said the latest attacks were carried out with drones.
“Russians think this will help them, but such actions are just their convulsions,” Yermak said on Telegram.
Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia while the Kremlin has not commented. It denies targeting civilians.
The latest raids were carried out as Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in what Moscow described as “fierce fighting” in the regions of Kherson in the south and Donetsk in the east. –AFP/Reuters