Ukraine says it shot down 13 drones launched by Russia Wednesday over the capital Kyiv.
A city official in Kyiv, Serhii Popko, wrote on the social media service Telegram the attempted strikes came in two waves. He said wreckage from the downed drones damaged an administration building and four housing structures.
The snow-covered capital remained largely calm after the early morning attack, The Associated Press reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video statement all 13 Iranian-made drones were identified by air defense systems and destroyed.
The back of one wrecked drone had a handwritten message on it that said, "For Ryazan!!!" The message was believed to be a reference to an attack Russia claims Ukraine launched last week on a military base in the Ryazan area of western Russia.
Drones have been used by Russia – along with rockets, missiles and artillery weapons – to target power stations, water centers and other infrastructure in Ukraine.
The damage caused by Russian strikes has at times cut off electricity, heating and water supplies to many Ukrainians as winter sets in.
Ukrainian officials have praised the military’s ability to identify incoming Russian weapons and shoot them down. But strikes in some areas continue to cause deaths and destruction, especially in areas close to the front lines in the east and south. In the southern city of Odesa, drone strikes temporarily shut off power last week.
During an earlier round of Russian strikes on December 5, Ukrainian officials said about 60 of 70 weapons were identified by air defense systems. This included nine out of 10 that targeted the capital and the surrounding area.
US to send missile defense system
American officials said Tuesday the United States was set to approve sending the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine. Ukrainian leaders have made urgent requests to receive defense systems and stronger weapons from the West to shoot down incoming Russian missiles.
Zelenskyy pressed Western leaders as recently as Monday to provide more powerful weapons to help his country. The Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has provided to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February.
U.S. officials told Reuters news agency an announcement on sending the Patriot system to Ukraine could come as soon as Thursday.
Russia said on Wednesday the U.S. Patriot missile defense system could be targeted by Russian forces if it is deployed in Ukraine.
Currently, no peace talks are taking place to end the war, which has killed thousands, displaced millions and damaged major cities.
This week, President Zelenskyy called on Russia to start withdrawing troops by Christmas as the first step toward a peace deal. But Russia said on Wednesday it had no plans to establish a “Christmas ceasefire.”
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
drone – n. an unmanned aircraft
reference – n. the act of mentioning something
infrastructure – n. the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) needed for a country or area to operate
advanced – adj. having developed or progressed to a late stage
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