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Ukraine Says It Downed 13 Russian Drones Sent to Attack Kyiv


Parts of the drone are seen at the site of a building destroyed by a Russian drone attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine Dec. 14, 2022.
Parts of the drone are seen at the site of a building destroyed by a Russian drone attack, as their attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine Dec. 14, 2022.

Ukraine said Wednesday it thwarted a Russian attack on Kyiv with its air defense system, shooting down 13 incoming explosive-laden drones, although wreckage from some of the aerial intercepts damaged five buildings.

The capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, reported explosions in the central Shevchenkivskyi district in central Kyiv in the daybreak attack. There were no reported casualties.

“Another massive drone attack on Kyiv,” the Ukrainian defense ministry tweeted. “It is obvious that the Russian military feels confident only when attacking peaceful cities.”

Drones have been part of the firepower — along with rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery — that Russia has used since October to target power stations, water facilities and other public utility equipment, an effort to demoralize Ukrainians at the outset of winter.

In the latest attack, the head of the Kyiv city administration, Serhii Popko, wrote on Telegram that the wreckage from the intercepted drones damaged an administrative building and four residential buildings.

One blast left the three-story tax office building in the Shevchenkivskyi district with a gaping hole in its roof and blew out windows in parked cars and a nearby building.

Ukraine says it has been increasingly successful in shooting down Russian drones, intercepting more than 60 of 70 strikes in a barrage on December 5, but at the same time it has urgently sought more advanced air defense systems from its Western allies.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they were set to approve sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has provided to the Kyiv government during Russia’s 10-month war on Ukraine.

The European Union added sanctions against Iran this week for its role in developing and supplying drones that Russia is using in its war in Ukraine.

In another development Wednesday, Ukrainian authorities said they have uncovered evidence that children were tortured in areas the Russian army formerly occupied.

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine's human rights chief, said "torture chambers for children" accused of resisting Russian forces were found in recaptured areas of northeastern and southern Ukraine. "There are no limits to the cynicism of the Russian Federation," he said.

Prisoner swap

The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said Ukraine and Russia carried out a prisoner swap that included 64 Ukrainian soldiers who had fought in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Andriy Yermak tweeted that the swap included one U.S. citizen, Suedi Murekezi.

The New York Times and The Washington Post reported in July that Murekezi was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who moved to Ukraine four years ago. Pro-Russian forces detained him in June in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and Murekezi’s brother said he was falsely accused of participating in pro-Ukrainian protests.

Environmental impact

Earlier Wednesday, Zelenskyy urged New Zealand to play a role in building support for a peace plan that includes a focus on the environmental impacts of Russia’s war.

Zelenskyy delivered a video address to New Zealand’s parliament, telling lawmakers that Russian attacks have polluted rivers, flooded coal mines and destroyed chemical sites. He said 174,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory are contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance.

“The destroyed economy and infrastructure can be rebuilt. It takes years,” Zelenskyy said. “But you cannot rebuild destroyed nature. Just as you cannot restore destroyed life.”

In his nightly video address to Ukrainians late Tuesday, Zelenskyy thanked those who have supported his country after two conferences that yielded pledges of more than $1 billion in aid from about 70 countries and institutions.

The aid will help Ukraine repair infrastructure battered by Russian airstrikes that in recent weeks have cut power and water supplies for millions of Ukrainians. About $400 million will go toward the energy sector.

“We cannot leave [Ukrainians] alone faced with winter, faced with their aggressor, which is seeking to inflict difficulties on them,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters after the meetings in Paris.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told reporters that the new aid “is a very powerful signal. It shows that the whole of the civilized world is supporting Ukraine.”

The conference followed a pledge Monday from the leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations to meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements for military and defense equipment.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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