Ukrainian air defenses shot down all ten Russian Iskander missiles fired at the country overnight, according to Kyiv’s military.
Russian forces launched “a series of attacks” on the Ukrainian capital, starting at around 2:45 a.m. local time on Thursday, Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said in an operational update.
A total of 10 Iskander missiles were fired from Russia’s Bryansk region, which is to the northeast of Kyiv, the armed forces said. Ukraine’s defenses intercepted seven Iskander-M ballistic missiles and three Iskander-K cruise missiles, the Ukrainian air force said in a statement.
Short-range Iskander missiles have frequently been used by Moscow’s forces in strikes on Ukrainian targets. The Iskander tactical missile system can launch either ballistic or cruise missiles, which can be winged, such as the Iskander-K, and be armed with either conventional or nuclear warheads.
Authorities in Kyiv said early on Thursday that two children had been killed as a result of the strikes, although this has yet to be confirmed. Falling debris had caused damage in the capital, rather than the missiles, authorities said.
“This attack is connected with the aggressor’s use of operational-tactical ground-based missile systems,” Serhii Popko, the head of the Kyiv military administration, said in a statement on Thursday. “That is why the missiles did not fly to Kyiv from airplanes.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment via email.
It is not clear which air defense systems Ukraine used to shoot down the Iskander missiles it said were launched overnight. However, military aid packages from Kyiv’s Western backers have looked to improve Ukraine’s air defense capabilities with new systems, such as the U.S.-made Patriot air defense system.
Iskander missiles have a range of around 500 kilometers, or just over 300 miles, according to the U.S. think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Also known under its Western reporting name, SS-26, the surface-to-surface Iskander missile was “considered the most advanced missile of its kind” when it was first introduced, the U.S. military has said. It was first launched in the mid-1990s, and the Iskander-M system was officially adopted by the Russian military in 2006.
Strikes utilising Iskander missiles are typically launched overnight, but Ukraine’s military said on Monday that Russia had struck Kyiv with 11 Iskander missiles in a daytime barrage.
“The enemy changed tactics,” Kyiv official Popko said on Monday. “After long, exclusively nocturnal attacks,” Russian ballistic missiles targeted Kyiv “when most of the residents were at work and on the streets,” he said in a statement.
Monday’s Iskander missile strikes came just six hours after an overnight attack, Popko said.
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