One of the most striking features of a war is how people can get used to it. In the case of Ukraine, it contrasts with the willingness of the people in their cities to maintain a certain normality, even though not even an hour has passed since they suffered the most intense bombardment so far in the war. This is what happened this Sunday in kyiv. During four hours in the early morning, Russia fired 40 drones into the capital, a record number. Shortly after, the daily curfew was lifted and the city was filled with passers-by to celebrate kyiv Day, its main festival.
kyiv has suffered so far on May 14 bombardments with cruise missiles and Iranian-made Shahed bomb drones. The one this Sunday was the worst in intensity, but not in damage. Anti-aircraft systems protecting the Ukrainian capital have reached a very high level of effectiveness. Of the 59 drones fired at urban targets across the country, the Ukrainian Air Force claimed to have shot down 58. If the drone interception rate is close to 100%, when it comes to cruise missiles, the number is higher than 70. %, according to the Ukrainian Army. This May it was also in the news that Patriot anti-aircraft batteries, supplied by the United States, shot down several Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.
Early Sunday morning in kyiv was terrifying in terms of explosions, but also a display of the defense resources Ukraine has amassed thanks to its international allies. The EL PAÍS envoy was able to observe at least four drones shot down a few hundred meters away, some by German Gepard automatic cannons; others with missiles. These could come from Soviet S-300 batteries, American Patriot or German Iris-T. The Ukrainian Air Force’s priority is to intercept drones with cannons or even large-caliber submachine guns mounted on vans, to avoid using a weapon as expensive as the Patriot or Iris-T to kill drones. While the production cost of a Shahed does not exceed $30,000, a Patriot battery missile can reach $4 million. Yuri Ignat, spokesman for the Air Force, confirmed this Sunday that the ideal is to avoid the use of these missiles to shoot down drones, but that in night attacks they are essential because they have guidance systems that do not depend on the visibility of the military operating a Canyon.
When Ukrainian radars and their positions at the front or on the border detect the arrival of the Shahed, several units armed with machine guns or anti-aircraft guns are stationed along their path. In addition, large floodlights are used to illuminate the sky in the event of a night attack. This allowed the Ukrainian border services in the province of Chernihiv, in the north, to shoot down one of these aircraft with assault rifles at dawn on Sunday, or for a patrol boat to shoot down another Shahed from the Kiev reservoir, north of the capital.
Bomb drones were fired in waves, allowing the enemy to further push their anti-aircraft systems to the limit. EL PAÍS was able to film the characteristic sound of one of these drones entering the center of the city and its subsequent explosion over the Holosiivki district. In this district a man was killed and a woman wounded. The worst consequences of the early morning attack were suffered by the city of Yitómir, in the center of the country. 26 houses were damaged, a hospital and a school, according to its City Council.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
There is not a day that representatives of the military and the Ukrainian government stop demanding more anti-aircraft weapons from their international partners. These defenses are what allow Ukraine to function as normally as possible away from the front lines. The Ukrainian government believes that the model to follow should be the Israeli air defense system. For this reason, both its president, Volodímir Zelenski, and the White House pressure Israel to authorize the delivery of its defense batteries from the Iron Dome program, for many analysts, the best in the world.
Life has continued this Sunday in kyiv, which celebrates its main festival on the last weekend of May. Due to the war, no public events have been organized, but the streets, parks, museums, theaters and restaurants were filled with people who, a few hours before, had run to seek refuge in the safest places in their buildings. Andrii Kolesnikov had lunch this Sunday with his parents and his brother on the terrace of a fashionable restaurant in the Shevchenko district. The two brothers wore vyshyvankas, the traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts that are worn on special occasions. Kolesnikov, 29, assumed that Moscow would bomb again on the night from Sunday to Monday: “It is true that they do not need special dates to attack us, but it is their way of saying that they want to see us disappear.”
The Ukrainian Air Force has reiterated that Russia’s use of the Shahed is primarily for the purpose of depleting Ukrainian anti-aircraft assets and identifying the position of anti-aircraft batteries. But an attack like the one last morning also aims to provoke fear among the civilian population. The kyiv City Council claims that 200 people have been killed in shelling in kyiv in the 15 months of war. The capital has also become a refuge for some 300,000 people who have fled from the eastern and southern provinces, the hardest hit by the fighting, the mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reported last December. “Russia’s barbaric attacks continue to kill and terrorize civilians,” Nabila Massrali, foreign affairs spokesman for the European Commission, wrote on social media. “Russian leaders and the perpetrators will be held accountable,” Massrali continued. “We remain committed so that Ukraine can defend itself.”
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
#kyiv #Suffers #Worst #Drone #Bomb #Attack #Ukraine #War