Ukraine reported a fresh round of Russian drone attacks Monday, with much of the focus on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his calls for allies to help boost Ukraine’s air defenses in its battle against Russia’s invasion.
Authorities in Kyiv said there were no reported casualties, according to preliminary information, while Ukraine’s energy operator Ukrenergo said would be conducting emergency shutdowns in the Kyiv area following the drone attacks.
Russia has repeatedly used the drones to attack Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, often targeting critical infrastructure such as power and water facilities.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday that air defense is a “constant priority” for his administration.
“By helping us fully protect our skies, by providing us with more modern air defense systems in sufficient numbers, you can deprive the terrorist state of its main instrument of terror,” Zelenskyy said. “This will be one of the most powerful steps that will bring the end of aggression closer. Russia will have to follow the path of cessation of aggression, when it can no longer follow the path of missile strikes.”
Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, told ABC News’s “This Week” show Sunday, “We see what happens when we don’t have enough air defense.”
Markarova said half of Ukraine’s energy grid has been destroyed by Russian missiles. “We have to stop it. And the only way to do it is with increased number of air defense everywhere in Ukraine,” she said.
U.S. officials say they are planning to send a Patriot missile air defense battery to Ukraine to help shoot down incoming Russian airstrikes, but no official announcement has been made. Russia has condemned the anticipated U.S. action and called it a provocation heightening U.S. involvement in the conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to visit ally Belarus Monday for talks with President Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarus allowed Russian troops to mass there before launching their invasion of Ukraine in February, but Lukashenko has said he will not be sending his own forces to join the Russian war.
Russia and Belarus announced in October they were starting a joint regional force. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported Monday the Russian defense ministry said the troops deployed for that effort will be conducting military exercises.