Russia struck the central part of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv for the second time in a week, after at least four explosions sent residents scrambling for cover during the morning rush hour.
Residential areas of the capital were rocked with strikes from Iranian-made drones, including kamikaze and shahed drones, said Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office.
More than four loud explosions were reported on Monday in the same central Kyiv district which was battered by a missile striking a children’s playground and intersection near the Kyiv National University’s main buildings.
Kyiv city mayor Vitaliy Klichko urged people in central Shevchenko district to take shelter as a string of explosions activated air raid sirens.
Details of casualties from the attacks were not immediately clear.
Following the drone attack, a fire broke out in a non-residential building at the Shevchenkivskyi district, Mr Klitschko said, adding that several residential buildings have also come under attack.
Visuals of the attack showed a fire in the area of the apparent strike, with black smoke filling up the early morning sky.
“At the scene of the first attack. Could hear the incoming roar and then an explosion. Ukrainian air defence was firing on it. Incredibly tense moment, sending police scattering and people running for shelter,” Christopher Miller, a correspondent for the Financial Times, said reporting from the scene.
Russia has been using the so-called suicide drones in recent weeks to target urban areas, infrastructure and power stations. Attacks on capital Kyiv had become a rarity following Russia’s initial failed attempts to capture the city and the diversion of their attention to other Ukrainian regions.
But Kyiv appears to be in the crosshairs of Vladimir Putin again after the first explosion in months rocked the city centre following Russia’s apparent frustration over the bombing of a key bridge that connects Crimea with the Russian mainland.
Mr Putin blamed Ukraine for masterminding the blast and said the strikes in Kyiv were retaliation for the bombing of the bridge, which curtailed Moscow’s ability to supply troops into southern Ukraine.
The kamikaze drones were reportedly supplied by Iran to Russia, a claim Tehran denies. The unmanned drones packed with explosives can carry out precise strikes by hovering in place for hours before diving into their targets.