Russian drones hit Kyiv, Putin in Belarus amid fears of ally joining offensive under pressure

KYIV: Russia attacks critical infrastructure in and around Kiev in a “kamikaze” drone strike on Monday, hours before President Putin arrive Belarusraised fears that he would pressure his ally into a new attack on Ukraine.
Ukraine’s air force said its air defenses shot down 30 drones in the third Russian air strike on Kyiv in six days and the latest in a series of attacks since October. 10 targeted the energy grid, causing widespread power outages amid sub-zero temperatures. Officials said at least three people were injured and nine buildings damaged in the Kiev area. Ukraine’s Atomic Energy Agency accused Russia of sending one of the drones over part of the Southern Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in the Mykolaiv region. “This is a completely unacceptable violation of nuclear and radiation safety,” Energoatom wrote on Telegram.
The “kamikaze” drones used in the attacks are cheap, disposable drones that fly toward the target before slowing down and exploding on impact. During the night, flames raged at an energy facility in the Shevchenkivskyi district that is usually the target of central Kiev, a Reuters witness said. The Solomianskyi district in western Kyiv, a transport hub, train station and one of the city’s two passenger airports, was also hit. Kiev officials say 18 of the 23 drones were shot down over the city of 3.6 million people.
Meanwhile, in the northwest of Ukraine, there has been continuous military activity by Russia and Belarus for months in Belarus, a close ally of the Kremlin that Moscow’s military has used as a launch pad for the offensive. their failure to enter Kyiv in February. Putin’s trip, to hold talks with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, is his first visit to Minsk since 2019. especially, from our point of view, also on the ground,” the force commander Ukraine’s general Serhiy Nayev said before Putin’s arrival. Lukashenko has repeatedly said he has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine.The Kremlin also rejected the idea that Putin wanted to push Belarus to play a more active role in Ukraine. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, citing the Defense Ministry, that Russian troops that moved to Belarus in October will conduct battalion-level tactical drills.
President of Ukraine Zelenskiy said forces were holding on to the town of Bakhmut, the site of the heaviest fighting in weeks. On Monday, Zelensky called on Western leaders meeting in Latvia to provide a variety of weapons. He also said in his speech by video link that the drones used in Monday’s attacks were part of a new batch of about 250 purchased by Russia from Iran.


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