Explosions echoed across the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Monday as Ukrainian officials warned of a large-scale Russian missile attack aimed at targets nationwide.
The missiles approached Kyiv at about 5 a.m. local time and air defenses appeared to work, Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a statement as the first missiles entered the air space above the capital. About an hour later, a Ukrainian military official confirmed that all of the missiles and drones were destroyed and there were no reports of damage or injuries in Kyiv.
The air raid sirens were turned off at about 6:30 a.m. after blaring for three hours.The attacks follow a weekend of explosions deep behind Russian lines, including one at an oil depot in Russian-occupied Crimea on Saturday. The spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern command, Natalia Humeniuk, said the depot fire is part of preparations for “the broad, full-scale offensive that everyone expects” Ukraine to launch soon.
The flurry of attacks signals intensified fighting by both forces in a conflict that has for months been marked by grinding advances in small towns and deadly shelling along the front line and across the border between the two countries. Both sides have said they are preparing for a counteroffensive that would likely renew attempts to gain territory.
The explosions in Kyiv on Monday were a few hours after Russia attacked Pavlograd in central Ukraine, sparking a massive fire that lit up the night sky. As images of the blasts circulated on social media, the city government urged residents to find shelter and not “roam around the city.”