- By Adam Durbin in London and James Landel in Kiev
- BBC News
The Ukrainian capital, Kiev, was attacked by Russia for the ninth time this month.
Kyiv authorities said it appeared that all incoming missiles were destroyed, but debris falling from the air caused some damage in two areas.
Officials said one person was killed and two others wounded in a missile attack on the Black Sea port of Odessa.
Explosions were also heard in the central-western regions of Vinnitsa, Khmelnytskyi, and Zhitomir.
The Ukrainian Air Force said in a statement that a total of 29 of the 30 missiles launched by Russia overnight were shot down.
In a separate development, rail traffic between Simferopol and the city of Sevastopol was suspended after a freight train carrying grain derailed. Simferopol is the regional capital of Ukraine’s Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of the Moscow-appointed regional parliament, told Russian state media that the derailment was caused by an explosion. The investigation is underway.
The capital’s military administration said in a statement that Russia had used cruise missiles and reconnaissance drones in the latest nighttime attack on Kiev.
It said that “the series of air attacks on Kiev, which is unprecedented in terms of its strength, intensity and diversity, continues.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, speaking before giving the full evacuation, said a fire broke out in a garage in Kyiv’s Darnitsiya district, but added that no one was hurt.
The head of the civilian military administration in Kiev said a massive missile attack launched from Russian strategic bombers over the Caspian Sea.
The attack most likely included cruise missiles, Serhiy Popko said, adding that Russia deployed reconnaissance drones over Kiev after it launched a wave of air strikes.
He said a second fire broke out in a non-residential building in the Desnyansky district of eastern Kiev, but he did not provide any information on whether anyone was injured.
Slowly but surely Ukraine is preparing a massive offensive against the invading forces of Russia.
Western officials say the Ukrainian military is in an “increasing state of readiness” ahead of the long-awaited counter-offensive against the Russian invasion.
The officials said many of Kyiv’s military capabilities are now “combining” — including its ability to deploy tanks, combat vehicles and combat engineers, as well as clear mines, bridge rivers and strike long-range targets.
They said Russian forces were in a precarious state but warned that Moscow’s defensive lines in Ukraine were “potentially formidable” and guarded by “extensive minefields”.
The officials therefore argued that the success of any Ukrainian offensive should be measured not only by territorial gains but also by whether it persuaded Russian President Vladimir Putin to rethink his strategy.
They claimed that the “knowledge effect on the Kremlin” was more important than the Ukrainian forces pushing through Russian lines all the way to the border.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday met with a Chinese diplomat in Kiev and rejected any peace plan that might involve them ceding territory to Russia.
But an agreement allowing Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain across the Black Sea has been extended for two months, a day before it expires.
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