Ukrainian air defenses thwarted an intense Russian air attack on Kyiv early Tuesday, shooting down all 18 missiles aimed at the capital with the help of Western-supplied weapons, officials said.
Loud explosions boomed over Kyiv as the nighttime attack combined Russian missiles launched from the air, sea, and land in an apparent attempt to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defenses. No casualties were reported.
The attack came one day after the UK pledged to supply Ukraine with long-range attack drones and more air defense missiles during President Zelenskyy’s last stop of his rapid tour of Europe.
According to Serhii Popko, head of Kyiv’s military administration, the overnight attack on the capital was “exceptional in its density—the maximum number of attacking missiles in the shortest period of time.”
“A full-on aerial attack on Kyiv last night, pretty intense,” British Ambassador Melinda Simmons said on Twitter. “Bangs and shaking walls are not an easy night. Hope everyone is ok.”
According to Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat, Russia launched six “Kinzhal” aero-ballistic missiles from MiG-31K aircraft, nine cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea, and three land-based S-400 cruise missiles—and all within a relatively short time period.
After the first onslaught, Russian forces launched Iranian-made Shahed attack drones and conducted aerial reconnaissance, Ihnat said.
As advanced air defense systems provided by Ukraine’s Western allies knocked the Russian missiles from the sky one after another, debris fell across several districts of Kyiv, starting fires.
According to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, no loss of life was reported.
A metal fragment that landed inside the Kyiv zoo was labeled Lockheed Martin and Boeing—two of the companies involved in the manufacture of the U.S.-supplied Patriot missile defense system.
A Russian defense official said that Tuesday’s attack managed to destroy a Patriot missile battery in Kyiv. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the system was destroyed by a Russian “Kinzhal” missile.
Konashenkov didn’t provide any evidence for the claim. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ihnat declined to comment on the matter altogether.
European leaders gathered in Iceland on May 16 for a rare summit of the 46-nation Council of Europe, to discuss various methods of holding Russia legally accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, including future financial compensation for war victims.
Meanwhile, a Chinese envoy will be visiting Ukraine and Russia in the coming days—and later Poland, France, and Germany—to discuss Beijing’s peace plan, which was promptly rejected by the United States when it was first released in February.
Ukraine initially reacted to the Chinese communist regime’s proposed plan with a degree of caution, as they were unsure of the role China would or could be trying to play as the conflict developed.
Even though Xi Jinping’s government has claimed neutrality, stating that it merely wishes to play the role of a mediator in the conflict, China has given Moscow increasing political and economic support—a decision likely to complicate its peace envoy’s task.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.