Ukraine shoots down more than a dozen Russian-launched drones

Ukraine has said it has shot down more than a dozen Russian-launched drones in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The 18 drones were among 24 launched in pre-dawn attacks across Ukraine, with a number aimed at Kyiv – all of which were destroyed alongside an unspecified number of missiles, city officials said.

Administration officials in the capital said: “The Russians have attacked Kyiv using Shahed loitering munitions and missiles, likely the ballistic type.”

Some 15 Shahed drones were fired at the city of Odesa on the Black Sea, with air defences destroying 12 of these, according to Ukraine’s southern military command.

Three of the drones struck a university compound but there were no casualties.

Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline also reported explosions in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, with the head of the city’s regional military administration Yuri Malashko, confirming that anti-aircraft defences were at work.

Russia has regularly bombarded Ukraine since October and the latest attacks come less than 24 hours after Kyiv said 21 people were killed in a Russian strike on the city of Kherson.

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a supermarket, railway station and residential buildings were among the places hit.

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It also comes after drone attacks on the home of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the early hours of Wednesday.

Putin described the attack as a “terrorist act”, blaming Ukraine, but Mr Zelenskyy said: “We don’t attack Putin or Moscow – we fight on our own territory”.

The Kremlin said the drones were disabled before they could strike but threatened retaliation.

There were no reports of victims or damage.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that Putin was working in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow at the time of the attack.

Mr Peskov said there would be no change to plans for Russia’s Victory Day parade on 9 May.

The major public holiday commemorates the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War and presents an opportunity for Putin to rally Russians behind his “special military operation” in Ukraine.