KYIV, Ukraine — Russia unleashed a missile and drone barrage Sunday across parts of Ukraine that killed six people, Kyiv officials said, as Moscow followed through on its promise to retaliate for an attack on a Russian tanker.
Separately, Moscow’s second-largest airport briefly suspended flights early Sunday following a foiled drone attack near the Russian capital.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 70 drones and missiles from aircraft over the Caspian Sea, including Iranian-made, Shahed-136/131 strike UAVs.
Three waves of missiles hit the Starokostiantyniv area, damaging several buildings and igniting a fire at a warehouse, said Serhiy Tyurin, deputy head of Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky region military administration. The strike may have been intended for the city’s airfield, officials said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the facilities of aircraft engine manufacturer Motor Sich in the Zaporizhzhia region had also come under attack.
The Russian barrage followed a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian tanker in the Black Sea near Crimea late Friday. Ukraine also struck a major Russian port with drones earlier the same day.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova condemned what she called a Ukrainian “terrorist attack” on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait.
“There can be no justification for such barbaric actions, they will not go unanswered and their authors and perpetrators will inevitably be punished,” she posted on the Telegram messaging app.
An official with Ukraine’s Security Service confirmed to The Associated Press that a Ukrainian drone packed with 450 kilograms (992 pounds) of explosives struck the tanker that was transporting fuel for Russian forces. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Russia’s Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport posted on Telegram that although the drone blasted a hole in the tanker’s engine room, there were no casualties among the 11 crew members. On Sunday, a Ukrainian missile hit the Chonhar bridge connecting the Russian-occupied Kherson region and northern Crimea, causing minor damage to the span’s roadway, said Vladimir Saldo, the Moscow-installed leader of the Kherson region. He also said several more rockets had been shot down by air defense forces.
The bridge, which is one of three key spans connecting the Crimean Peninsula to the mainland, was previously attacked on July 22 and July 29.
Two of the six killed overnight occurred during a Russian airstrike in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, according to the head of the local regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov. Four others were injured.
Zelenskyy said a guided bomb had hit a blood transfusion center in the area’s Kupyan district late on Saturday.
“This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy wrote on social media. “Defeating terrorists is a matter of honor for everyone who values life.”
Heavy shelling continued along the front line in eastern Ukraine as Kyiv continued its ongoing counteroffensive. Elsewhere in the Kharkiv region, a 58-year-old woman was killed and a 66-year-old man was wounded after Russian shelling of the village of Podoly, an official said. In Ukraine’s eastern Kupyan region, Russian missiles injured a 55-year-old man and ignited a forest fire, officials said on social media. Russian attacks in the Donetsk region villages of Torske and Niu-York killed two people, local Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said on social media.
Ukrainian shelling in Russian-held Donetsk killed a woman in her 80s, Moscow-appointed Mayor Alexei Kulemzin said. The shelling also set the main building of a university on fire, according to Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-installed head of the illegally annexed region.
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said the blaze caused the building’s roof to collapse, but that there were no casualties.
Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, located 15 kilometers (9 miles) southwest of the capital, briefly suspended flights Sunday morning after a drone was shot down in the airspace around the city. It was the fourth attack on Moscow in a month, highlighting the city’s vulnerability as Russia’s war grinds into its 18th month. The drone was destroyed by air defense systems in the Podolsk region of the Moscow suburbs, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
It said no one was injured from the abortive drone attack, although Russian media outlet Baza later reported a 77-year-old man suffered a shrapnel wound on his hand. The reports could not be independently verified.
Ukrainian authorities, which generally avoid commenting on attacks on Russian soil, didn’t say whether it launched the raid.
Flights were last halted at the airport on July 30, when two drones crashed into the Moscow City business district after being jammed by Russian air defenses.
Also on Sunday, Ukraine replaced the Soviet hammer and sickle that adorned the 200-foot (61-meter) Mother Ukraine statue in Kyiv with the tryzub, the three-pronged trident that was officially adopted as the country’s coat of arms in 1992.
The change to one of the nation’s most recognizable landmarks is part of a wider shift throughout Ukraine to reclaim its cultural identity from the Soviet era amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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