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Two killed in biggest Russian air strike on Ukrainian capital in months

Two killed in biggest Russian air strike on Ukrainian capital in months

By Yurii Kovalenko and Vladyslav Sodel

KYIV (Reuters) -Russia's largest air strike on Kyiv since spring killed two people early on Wednesday, with the debris of downed missiles falling on buildings, a park and a school, Ukrainian officials said.

Reuters captured footage of a fireball that fell out of the night sky into a part of the Ukrainian capital close to a supermarket, detonating in a huge explosion that bathed nearby residential tower blocks in light.

Three people were wounded in the overnight strike on Kyiv, and combat drones attacked infrastructure in the central region of Zhytomyr, where an unidentified facility and railway tracks were damaged and trains were delayed, they said.

"The blast wave broke all the windows, the entry doors are broken too. We were terribly scared," said Liudmyla Savchuk, a 57-year-old teacher whose apartment in northwestern Kyiv was damaged.

"Then there was another explosion in a couple of seconds, 20 or 30 seconds. We're cleaning everything now," she said, showing Reuters a piece of debris that had flown through a window.

Ukrainian air defences shot down all 28 incoming missiles and 15 of the 16 drones in the overnight attack, which also targeted the Black Sea region of Odesa, said General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's armed forces.

Russia's Defence Ministry said its forces struck a number of Ukrainian command and reconnaissance posts. "The goals of the strike have been reached. All the assigned targets have been neutralised," it said.

Moscow also said Ukraine had carried out an overnight drone attack on western Russia.

"MASSIVE ATTACK"

Russia has conducted regular, but smaller, air strikes on Kyiv this summer, and hit the capital with large-scale aerial attacks in May.

The latest attack began with drones heading towards Kyiv from different directions and was followed by a salvo of missiles launched by Tu-95 strategic bombers.

It was not immediately clear what had been hit by the single drone that was not shot down.

"Kyiv has not experienced such a powerful attack since spring. The enemy launched a massive, combined attack using drones and missiles," Serhiy Popko, the head of the city's military administration said on Telegram.

The bodies of two people were found in a non-residential building, mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

At around 4.00 a.m. (0100 GMT), a burning lump of missile debris flew through the night sky over southwestern Kyiv's outskirts and landed nearby, a Reuters witness said.

Several buildings were damaged by debris, and officials in the Kyiv region said six private houses were damaged by missile fragments and several people were injured.

"Humans don't do such things. There are no military objects here, nothing – just an apartment block... The missiles fell in the park," said Roman Feshchenko, 76, a resident in the northwest of Kyiv, one of four places where debris came down.

The general prosecutor's office said separately an 82-year-old woman had been killed overnight by Russian shelling in her home in the village of Svarkove in the northern region of Sumy.

(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Gleb Garanich; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Timothy Heritage)