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Ukraine updates: 'Kamikaze' drones strike central Kyiv

October 17, 2022

Ukrainian officials have reported at least two blasts from drones near the center of the capital. The explosions come a week after a wave of deadly Russian missile strikes across Ukraine. DW has the latest.

Firefighters work to put out a blaze at a residential building after it was hit by a Russian strike
Emergency crews worked to sift through the rubble of a residential building in Kyiv that was struck in one of the drone attacksImage: Efrem Lukatsky/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Kyiv was struck by "kamikaze drones," the head of Ukraine's presidential office said early on Monday. Mayor Vitali Klitschko later confirmed the report on Telegram.

Klitschko said four bodies were recovered, including those of a woman who was 6 months pregnant, and her husband. 

He added that several residential buildings had been damaged and that rescuers had pulled out 18 people from the rubble. 

According to witnesses, several of the blasts hit the central Shevchenko district, which was also rocked by explosions last week.

DW correspondent Fanny Facsar was on the scene of one of the strikes that hit a residential building, leaving it "immensely damaged." She said it was "unclear how many people [were] trapped underneath the rubble."

Facsar also reported hearing several blasts in the Ukrainian capital about an hour after the initial drone strikes. The Shevchenko district is a busy area with universities, bars and restaurants.

Last week, a barrage of Russian missiles struck Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in the most widespread Russian strikes since the war began in February. At least 19 people were killed and over 100 others wounded.

"The enemy can attack our cities, but it won't be able to break us. The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram on Monday, in response to the drone strikes.

Last week's deadly assault sparked international outcry and a new push from Germany and the United States to deliver air defense systems.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes last week were retaliation for a blast on a bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea.

He had also said in a speech on Friday that there was no need for more massive strikes on Ukraine "for now." 

Ukraine says Russia uses Iranian-made drones

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on October 17.

Iran supplying drones to Russia violates UN resolution — US State Department

Washington believes that Iran supplying drones to Russia would violate a UN Security Council resolution, US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.

"Earlier today our French and British allies publicly offered the assessment that Iran’s supply of these UAVs (for) Russia is a violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231," Patel said. "This is something that we agree with."

Western diplomats say that Resolution 2231 includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies that last until October 2023, and which drone exports would fall under.

The White House has accused Iran of providing weapons to Russia, which Tehran denies. 

Military aircraft crashes into building in southern Russia, causes fire

A military aircraft crashed into a residential building in the port town of Yeysk in Russia's southwestern Krasnodar Krai region on Monday evening, Russian news agencies reported.

According to the RIA news agency, Russia's Defense Ministry said a Su-34 bomber crashed and set off a fire spanning 2,000 square meters (21,526 square feet). The TASS news agency reported an engine fire caused the crash.

Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said emergency services were working to put out the fire.

Local emergency officials said that at least four people were killed and 25 were hospitalized, four of which were in grave condition. Around 100 residents of the building were evacuated.

The Defense Ministry said that the aircraft crashed during a training flight from a military airfield. The ministry said that both crewmembers evacuated the plane successfully.

Local authorities said the fire engulfed several floors of a nine-story building, affecting at least 17 apartments. Shortly after the announcement of the crash, Russia said it had launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

A screen shot shows footage of a burning building
A fire engulfed several floors of an apartment building in a town along the Azov coast in RussiaImage: TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Russia launches more strikes across Ukraine

Russia's Defense Ministry said it launched strikes from the sea and air, claiming to target Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Moscow said ammunition depots in the Kharkiv and Donestk regions in the east were also hit. 

"All targeted objects were hit," spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

However, Kyiv Mayor Klitschko said the Ukrainian air defense intercepted most missiles. 

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Telegram that "hundreds of settlements were cut off [of power] as the result of the attack," referring to the strikes that hit Kyiv and three other regions.

Shmyhal said the strikes hit critical infrastructure in the Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions.

He said teams were working to restore the electricity supply in the affected areas.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy also said that there had been "a few" deaths in towns other than the capital Kyiv but without giving further information, Reuters news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian operator Energoatom said the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was cut off from the external power supply. 

According to Energoatom, the last connection line had been disconnected overnight "as a result of shelling by the Russian military." 

The power plant operator accused Russia of blackmailing Ukraine "and the whole world through missile attacks." 

Ukraine slams Iran over Russia's drones 

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said Iran was responsible for the "murderers of Ukrainians," as officials claimed Monday's attacks were carried out by drones made in Iran. 

"[A] country that oppresses its own people is now giving [Russian] monsters weapons for mass murders in the heart of Europe. That is what unfinished business and concessions to totalitarianism mean," Podolyak wrote on Twitter. 

"The case when sanctions are not enough," he added. 

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that Brussels "will look for concrete evidence" about Iran's alleged involvement in the war, with some of the bloc's ministers calling for new sanctions against Tehran. 

Ukraine's president's office said earlier on Monday that Iranian-made Shahed drones were used in the latest strikes. 

Zelenskyy previously said, citing Ukrainian intelligence, that Moscow had ordered 2,400 of the Shahed drones from Iran.

Iran denies supplying Russia with weapons in its war on Ukraines. 

Military analyst Frank Ledwidge talks to DW about Russia’s drone use in Ukraine

EU to greenlight training mission for Ukraine troops

Foreign ministers from the 27 EU member states are meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss a proposal to boost the bloc's support for Ukraine's military defense.

The plan is to start training 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers from November — some eight months after the war began — at hubs in Poland and Germany.

Several EU countries, such as Germany and France, have already been training soldiers to use advanced weaponry they have donated.

Other countries such as the US, UK and Canada are already training thousands of Ukrainian troops.

The ministers are also expected to give the go-ahead for another €500 million ($486 million) in funding to help pay for weapons donations from EU member states.

The new sum will bring the total amount of EU funding for Ukraine up to more than €3 billion.

Moscow mayor announces end of draft

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced Monday that
"partial military mobilization"
was complete in Russia's capital, and that assembly points for recruits would be closed. 

"We will hope and pray that you return alive and healthy," Sobyanin said, referring to reservists deployed to Ukraine

Moscow's mayor said that draft papers issued to men who had not yet reported to a recruitment center would no longer be valid.

Ukraine and Russia exchange female prisoners

Ukraine and Russia exchanged exchanged nearly 220 prisoners on Monday.

Denis Pushilin, the Russia-backed leader of the illegally annexed Donetsk region, said that "mostly women" would be handed over to Ukrainian authorities.

"The exchange is carried out today by the formula 110 for 110," he said on his Telegram channel.

According to Pushilin, 80 Russians, whom he said were "civilian sailors," and 30 military personnel were freed.

Ukrainian authorities said Kyiv had swapped 108 prisoners in the first "all-female" exchange.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president's staff, said 37 of the women had been captured after Russian forces took the Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol in May.

The latest exchange comes after a similar swap of dozens of soldiers last week.

US, UK to continue cooperation around Moscow sanctions

Top financial officials from the United States and United Kingdom released a joint statement Monday saying the two countries will continue their cooperation around sanctions imposed on Russia.

"Over time, we expect to realize the benefits of our collaboration not only in relation to the sanctions imposed in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but also across other common sanctions regimes," the statement said.

The statement was written by Andrea Gacki, the head of the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, and Giles Thomson, the head of the British Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.

The statement was released following a multi-day technical exchange in London between the two sanctions implementation authorities.

Extension of Ukraine grain export deal dependent on easing of sanctions — Moscow

Moscow told a top UN representative that the extension of the Black Sea grain deal was dependent on the West easing restrictions on Moscow's agricultural exports.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths that extending the deal "directly depends on ensuring full implementation of all previously reached agreements."

In July, Turkey and the UN brokered a deal which allowed grain to leave Ukrainian ports.

The deal is due to expire in November if not renewed.

Anti-war journalist flees Russia, says lawyer

Marina Ovsyannikova, the former Russian First Channel journalist who held up an anti-war poster on air, has escaped house arrest and fled Russia, according to her lawyer.

Ovsyannikova was charged with spreading "false information" after she also posted photos of herself with a sign that read "Putin is a murderer" within sight of the Kremlin.

Ovsyannikova is currently "under the protection of a European state," lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said.

Zakhvatov refused to give further information on the journalist's whereabouts as "it may turn out to be a problem for her."

Such statements could trigger criminal prosecution for publishing "false information" about and "denigrating" the army, offenses that can carry heavy prison sentences.

UK Defense Ministry: Crimea bridge blast continues to cause trouble for Moscow

According to the latest briefing published by the UK Defense Ministry on Twitter, the destruction of the Kerch Bridge linking mainland Russia and Crimea has made the Kremlin's logistical issues "more acute."

"Russian forces operating in southern Ukraine are likely increasing logistical supply flow via Mariupol," in order to compensate, they said.

The update added that "with the Russian presence in Kherson strained, and the supply routes through Crimea degraded, the ground line of communication through Zaporizhzhia Oblast is becoming more important to the sustainability of Russia's occupation."

Heavy fighting in Donestk, Luhansk

On Sunday, clashes continued to rock the two regions in eastern Ukraine. President Zelenskyy said: "the most difficult [operation] is the Bakhmut direction, as in the previous days. We hold our position."

Bakhmut is a strategically important city that has been the target of Russian strikes for weeks. Despite that, Ukrainian forces have been able to retake large swaths of land in the region.

Catch up on DW's coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

NATO has started a series of nuclear preparedness drills amid veiled threats from Moscow. The alliance said that the exercizes were a "routine" activity.

Moscow has used drones to strike Ukraine's capital. DW took a look into what we know about where Russia could be procuring drones.

ab,es,sdi/rs,wmr (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)