Ukrainian War: “Residential buildings hit by explosions in Kyiv”, intense fighting near the cities of Donetsk

Several explosions were heard Monday morning in Kyiv, exactly one week after the Russian strikes on the Ukrainian capital, AFP journalists noted.

Three explosions were heard successively around 06:35, 06:45 and 06:58 (05:35, 05:45 and 05:58 CET). The air raid sirens had sounded shortly before the first explosion.

The capital was attacked by “kamikaze drones”, wrote Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, on the Telegram messaging application.

Last Monday, Russian shelling on a scale not seen in months hit Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, killing at least 19 people and injuring 105 others and sparking an international outcry.

Meanwhile, intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces was taking place around two towns in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Bakhmut and Soledar, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday.

“The main hotspots in Donbass are Soledar and Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Very heavy fighting is going on there.”

Bakhmut has been the target of Russian armed forces in their slow advance in the region since the capture of the main industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July. Soledar is located just north of Bakhmut.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian positions on multiple fronts, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said, with targets including towns in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions.

Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions – which make up the largest industrial Donbas and the strategically important province of Kherson in the south – make up three of the four provinces Putin proclaimed part of Russia last month, moves rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies as illegitimate.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its forces repelled efforts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, inflicting what it described as heavy casualties.

Moscow also claimed it was using long-range precision-guided weapons in continued airstrikes on military and energy targets in Ukraine.

Rybar, a pro-Russian military channel on Telegram, said the Ukrainian Armed Forces again shelled Belgorod, a city in southern Russia that serves as a base for Russian forces.

Anti-aircraft units intercepted most of the attacks, but there were two explosions near the airport. Three people were injured, he said.

Shelling by Ukrainian forces damaged the administrative building in the city of Donetsk, capital of the Donetsk region, the head of its Russian-backed administration said on Sunday.

There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine to the attack on the city of Donetsk, which was annexed by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 along with entire swathes of Donbass.

Kremlin-backed separatist authorities have previously accused Ukraine of numerous strikes on infrastructure and residential targets in occupied areas, without providing corroborating information.

Russian authorities said on Sunday that a criminal investigation had been opened after gunmen shot dead 11 people and injured 15 at a military training ground near the Ukrainian border.

Marjorie N. McClure