Kyiv’s citizens woke up in the early hours of May 16 to a massive missile strike that was “exceptional in its density”. According to the Kyiv City Military Administration, Ukraine’s capital suffered the maximum number of attacking missiles in the shortest possible time, as air defences worked relentlessly to protect the city.
All 18 missiles were shot down, according to the Ukrainian military, including six X-47M2 Kinzhal aerial ballistic missiles, nine Kalibr cruise missiles fired from ships in the Black Sea and three ground-launched missiles- S-400, Iskander-M. Nine drones were also shot down, including six Shahed-136/131 attack drones. The attack cost Russia $120mn, according to estimations from Ukrainian Pravda.
Three people were injured after falling debris hit a building and several cars, causing fires to break out, the Kyiv Independent reported. Firefighters rapidly arrived at the scene, putting out the flames. No fatalities have been recorded.
Other debris narrowly missed animals at the Kyiv Zoo, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko noted on Telegram. No injuries were reported and the animals are undergoing anti-stress measures.
The strike is the eighth one that has concentrated on Kyiv this month as Russia increases its air attacks after a relatively quiet spring. The attacks are likely an attempt to undermine Ukraine’s counter-offensive capabilities and target its air defences, including the recently acquired US-manufactured Patriot systems, regarded as one of the best in the world.
Online analysts speculated that it was Patriots at work on May 16, with pro-Russian Twitter accounts widely claiming that a Patriot battery was blown up. However, this has not been confirmed.
The attack comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr finishes his European tour, meeting with the leaders of Italy, Germany, France and the UK to secure further weapon and financial pledges in the lead-up to the counter-offensive. Over the weekend, Germany announced a record €2.7bn deal, while France pledged further air defence systems.
Zelenskiy told a press conference in Berlin that Ukraine is “almost ready” for the counter-offensive, although more weapons are still needed.