Russia launches new wave of night attacks on Ukraine, 18 missiles shot down

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Russia unleashed an airstrike of “exceptional” intensity on Kyiv early on Tuesday, but Ukraine said it shot down all 18 missiles fired at it overnight including six hypersonic missiles.

Bright flashes lit up the night sky over Kyiv during the eighth air attack on the capital this month. City authorities did not immediately report any major damage and said only three people had been wounded by falling debris.

“It was exceptional in its density - the maximum number of attack missiles in the shortest period of time,” Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv’s city military administration, said in comments posted on the Telegram messaging app.

After a weeks-long hiatus, Russia - which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 - resumed its tactic of long-range missile strikes in late April.

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It has launched a series of attacks in recent days, often targeting Kyiv, as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive to try to take back land occupied by Russia. Early on Tuesday, air raid sirens blared across nearly all of Ukraine, and were heard over Kyiv and its region for more than three hours.

The Ukrainian military said all 18 missiles, six Iranian Shahed drones and three reconnaissance drones fired at Ukraine by Russia overnight were shot down though it did not make clear how many were launched at the capital.

It said the missiles shot down included six Kinzhal ballistic missiles fired from aircraft, nine Kalibr cruise missiles launched from ships in the Black Sea and three Iskander land-based missiles.

“The enemy’s mission is to sow panic and create chaos. However, in the northern operational zone (including Kyiv), everything is under complete control,” General Serhiy Naev, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces, said.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports. Russia did not immediately comment.

The Kinzhal, which means “dagger” in Russian, is one of six “next generation” weapons unveiled by President Vladimir Putin in 2018 when the Russian leader boasted that it could not be shot down by any of the world’s air defense systems.

“The work of air defenses was extremely successful. Six Kinzhals are an impressive indicator of that,” said air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat.

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