Ukraine live updates: Kyiv rocked by Russian drone attacks – USA TODAY

They’re known as kamikaze or suicide drones because they’re meant to destroy upon impact as they inflict the most damage possible and spread terror.
That’s precisely what they’ve done over the last eight days, as Russian attacks with drones carrying explosives have sent civilians scrambling for cover in several parts of Ukraine, especially the previously peaceful capital of Kyiv.
At $20,000 per, the Iranian-built Shahed drones cost about 1/50th as much as a cruise missile, and they can be employed in large numbers for maximum effect, overwhelming defenses.  On Monday, a large percentage of those fired at Kyiv were deflected, but one drone struck an operations center and another one collapsed at least three apartments in a five-story residential building, killing four people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia can’t prevail on the battlefield, “and it tries to compensate for its military defeats with terror. Why this terror? To put pressure on us, on Europe, on the entire world.”
His words were echoed in a CNN interview by retired U.S. General David Petraeus, who called the drone attacks “huge and problematic” in their ability to impact Ukraine’s energy sector and scare the population.
But the former CIA director said they won’t change the direction of a war that has featured plenty of Russian missteps and a counteroffensive that has allowed Ukraine to recapture more than 1,000 square miles of territory while seizing momentum. Instead, he sees the drones as one of the few options left for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The one action he can still take is punish Ukraine, with missiles, with rockets, with bombs and with these drone swarms,” Petraeus told the network.
Other developments
►The European Union approved a program Monday to train 15,000 Ukrainian troops in Europe and agreed to provide almost $500 million more to help supply weapons and other military support to Ukraine.
►Belarus, Russia’s closest ally, will host 9,000 Russian troops and 170 tanks as part of a new joint Russian-Belarusian military force. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said the effort is in response to his unsubstantiated claim that Ukraine is plotting an attack on its neighbor to the north, a fellow former Soviet republic.
►The warring countries completed their latest prisoner exchange, and each side got more than 100 of its fighters back. The 108 POWs who returned to Ukraine were all women.
►NATO began its annual nuclear exercises Monday in northwestern Europe. Fourteen of NATO’s 30 member countries were due to take part in the exercises, which were planned before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
►Four Russians are being detained in Norway after being accused of taking photos in areas where photography is banned. Norwegian officials declined to provide additional information and are continuing to investigate. The Russians say they are just tourists.
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At least four people died, six were missing and 25 were injured when a Russian warplane crashed Monday into a residential area in the Russian port city of Yeysk, setting off a huge fire in a nine-story apartment building.
The Su-34 bomber plummeted into the city of 90,000 on the Sea of Azov after one of the engines caught fire during takeoff for a training mission, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that its two crew members parachuted to safety.
Videos posted on Russian messaging app channels showed a blaze engulfing the building and blasts that might have come from the warplane’s weapons. At least 17 apartments were damaged by the fire, which was contained several hours after the crash, local authorities said.
Explosions rocked Kyiv on Monday as dozens of armed drones unleashed by Russian forces set buildings ablaze, killed at least four people and sent residents scrambling for cover.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said most of the 28 drones targeting Kyiv were shot down, but explosions were heard across the city. One strike appeared to target the city’s heating network; another virtually destroyed a four-story residential building, collapsing at least three apartments on top of one another.
Four deaths were reported at one residential building alone, Klitschko said. 
He said the drones were Iranian-made Shaheds, which Russia has rebranded as Geran-2 drones. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, denied Monday that Iran provided drones to Russia, which is trying to avoid depleting its supply of long-range missiles. The drones cost just $20,000 apiece, compared with $1 million for each of the Kalibr cruise missiles Russia has used widely in Ukraine.
The attack came a week after Russia’s barrage of missile strikes in Kyiv and other major cities across Ukraine killed at least 20 people. That assault was the first to reach Kyiv in four months. 
“Enemies can attack our cities, but they won’t break us,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address.
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the European Union to sanction Iran for supplying Russia with deadly drones. The EU foreign ministers were meeting Monday in Luxembourg to adopt a package of sanctions against Iran in connection with violations of human rights and also will consider evidence on Iran’s role in supplying weapons to Russia. Iran denies involvement.
“I’m probably the first foreign minister to address EU FAC from a bomb shelter because of the air raids siren,” Kuleba said in a Twitter post that also urged the EU to approve another “strong” sanctions package for Russia.
Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom says external power to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was once again cut off because of shelling by Russian forces that struck a power substation on Ukrainian territory. Operators have been compelled to use diesel generators to power the safety systems at the facility, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The six reactors have been shut down amid the fighting, but the plant needs power to ensure crucialsafety systems remain operational.
Energoatom and international atomic energy experts have repeatedly called for a demilitarization of the plant and the withdrawal of Russian forces that surround it.
A Ukrainian philharmonic conductor was shot to death in his home by Russian soldiers after refusing to participate in a propaganda concert in Russian-occupied Kherson, the Ukraine Cultural Ministry said. Yuri Kerpatenko had been conducting in Kherson since 2000 and was the main conductor of the Gilea Chamber Orchestra, the ministry said in a Facebook post citing local journalist Elena Vanina.
“Kerpatenko openly showed his civic position and refused to leave occupied Kherson,” the ministry said.
The Russians wanted the orchestra as part of a concert intended to demonstrate “improvement of peaceful life” in Kherson under Russian rule, but Kerpatenko refused to cooperate, the ministry said.
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Contributing: The Associated Press

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