A firefighter tries to put out fire caused by fragments of a Russian rocket after it was shot down by air defence systems in Kyiv (Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry via AP)

Air defences shoot down 18 missiles as Russia launches major attack on Kyiv

A firefighter tries to put out fire caused by fragments of a Russian rocket after it was shot down by air defence systems in Kyiv (Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry via AP)

It was the eighth time this month that Russian air raids had targeted the capital, a clear escalation after weeks of lull and ahead of a much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive

Ukrainian air defences thwarted an intense Russian air attack on Kyiv early on Tuesday, shooting down all 18 missiles aimed at the capital.

Loud explosions boomed over Kyiv as the night-time attack combined Russian missiles launched from the air, sea and land in an apparent attempt to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defences. No casualties were reported.

Russia’s latest attack on Kyiv was “exceptional in its density – the maximum number of attacking missiles in the shortest period of time,” said Serhii Popko, the head of the Kyiv military administration.

The British ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, tweeted that the barrage was “pretty intense”.

Russia Ukraine War

Police officers investigate fragments of a Russian rocket that fell down in the city zoo after it was shot down by air defence systems over Kyiv (AP Photo/Alex Babenko)

“Bangs and shaking walls are not an easy night,” she wrote.

It was the eighth time this month that Russian air raids had targeted the capital, a clear escalation after weeks of lull and ahead of a much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive.

It also came as President Volodymyr Zelenksyy concluded a whirlwind European tour to greet Ukraine’s key wartime allies, which spurred an additional tranche of pledged military aid.

Ukraine’s air force said 18 missiles of various types were launched, including drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. All were intercepted, said Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat.

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