Russia unleashes new drone attack on Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr, shown here in September, thanked the Ukrainian military Saturday for intercepting a number of Iranian-made Russian drones that were launched at multiple Ukrainian regions Friday and Saturday. File Photo by Ukrainian President Press Office/UPI

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The Russian military launched a series of drone and missile attacks against Ukraine Friday and Saturday, striking Odesa. Officials said the drones took an indirect route to reach Kyiv to try and trick Ukrainian air defenses.

"Night air attack. Kyiv had not experienced such a powerful attack since spring. The enemy launched a massive, combined attack using drones and missiles," Serhii Popko, the head of Kyiv's military administration, said on Telegram and translated from Ukrainian.

Using the derogatory term "rashists," roughly meaning "Russian racist," Popko said the Russians first fired attack drones, specifically Iranian-made Shahed barrage munitions, in several groups from different directions toward Kyiv. The enemy drones took an indirect path to the capital.

"The UAVs of the rashists had to overcome a difficult route with a length of almost 1,000 km," Popko continued.

That wave of the attack was followed by missiles launched from the sides of aircraft, including the Tu-95MS strategic bomber.

In total, the Ukrainian military said 29 out of 38 drones that were launched Friday and Saturday were intercepted.

"Unfortunately, people were killed," Popko said. In the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv, pieces of "racist missiles" killed two people and injured another.

Local authorities said a civilian was injured in the city of Odesa as Russian strikes damaged energy infrastructure and an administrative building.

And two buildings were damaged in Chernihiv region.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday said he expects to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that he "must withdraw troops" from Ukraine but cautioned that "Germany is a middle-sized power."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday thanked the Ukrainian military for intercepting Russian drones and thanked Germany, Finland, and Lithuania for new assistance packages.

"Last night almost 30 'Shaheds' were destroyed in our sky. I thank all the soldiers of mobile fire groups, the aviation of our air force, and the anti-aircraft missile troops," Zelensky said in a video message posted to X Saturday. "Your accuracy, guys, is literally life for Ukraine."