Russia launched 40 drones overnight in a “massive” attack on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure but over half of them were downed, officials said on Friday.

“Last night there were about 40 ‘Shaheds’. More than half of them were shot down,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on social media.

Russia has used hundreds of Iranian-made self-detonating Shahed drones to attack targets across Ukraine since the start of the conflict.

Zelensky said the Russian drones were launched at 10 regions including Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia on the front lines, the capital Kyiv and Lviv in the west of the country.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 24 of the drones as well as a Russian missile.

There were no reported fatalities but local officials reported damage to residential buildings in several regions, including from falling debris.


Interior Minister Igor Klymenko called the attack “massive” while presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak warned Russia was “gradually increasing its air attacks on Ukraine.”

Concerns are growing that Russia will step up missile and drone strikes in an attempt to cripple Ukraine’s energy infrastructure through the winter.

“We realise that with the approach of winter, Russian terrorists will try to do more damage. We will respond to the enemy. Powerfully,” Zelensky said.

Lviv governor Maksym Kozytsky said Russian drone strikes hit five critical infrastructure sites.

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Pentagon spokesperson Major General Patrick Ryder said that while there had been no change in policy, Kyiv’s use of weapons against Russian troops was not limited to near Kharkiv on the Russian side.

Local officials also reported shelling attacks on several areas near the frontlines in Ukraine’s south and east.

Russia’s defence ministry said overnight it shot down two Ukrainian drones over its Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.

Separately, Ukraine said a 29-year-old man injured in an October 21 missile strike on a postal depot in the Kharkiv region had died, taking the death toll from the strike to eight.

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