KYIV, Ukraine — Russia attacked Kyiv with nearly three dozen drones overnight, Ukrainian officials said on Monday, one of the largest waves to directly target the Ukrainian capital and part of a broader aerial assault on towns and cities across the country.
Ukraine’s military said that it shot down all 35 drones, including 30 over Kyiv, in what was the fourth large-scale assault aimed at the city this month. At least five people were injured when drone wreckage fell onto buildings, Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said in a statement.
“This was the most massive drone attack on the capital during the entire war,” Mr. Klitschko later told reporters, saying that 36 were shot down over the capital. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the discrepancy between his tally and the military’s, although conflicting numbers are common in the aftermath of an attack.
It was part of a broader Russian attack that also targeted the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa with 16 missiles in the past day, the Ukrainian military said in a statement Monday.
The Ukrainian Red Cross said that a warehouse storing its humanitarian aid was “destroyed” in the Odesa region, in southern Ukraine, and that it had been forced to suspend some of its work there.
Russian forces have been stepping up attacks on Ukrainian civilians as Moscow braces for Kyiv to launch a counteroffensive now that the winter has ended. Ukrainian officials have warned that Moscow may try to provoke an attack timed to Tuesday, the annual May 9 Victory Day holiday that marks the Soviet triumph over of Nazi Germany. President Vladimir V. Putin has in years past turned that celebration into a showcase for modern Russian military might and a venue to spread his vision of Russian nationalism.
The assault on Kyiv began after midnight. For nearly four hours, Ukrainian air defense teams raced to shoot down the drones, lighting up the night sky with tracer fire from antiaircraft guns. Each time a drone was downed, an explosion rattled windows and shook buildings. Residents huddled in bomb shelters, hallways and bathrooms until the all-clear was given.