Massive fire as Ukraine shoots down own drone over Kyiv
The Ukrainian air force said it downed its own drone that lost control over Kyiv on Thursday, after a series of explosions shook the capital.
Andriy Yermak, Ukraine presidential chief of staff, initially said an enemy drone that had been shot down. But the air force later said it was Ukrainian and had been destroyed to avoid “undesirable circumstances”. No casualties were reported from the incident.
The explosions resonated in Kyiv for about 15 to 20 minutes, and followed a wave of overnight Russian attacks between Wednesday and Thursday.
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“At about 8pm (1700 GMT) a Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial device lost control during a scheduled flight in the Kyiv region … the target was destroyed!” the air force said, adding it was establishing the cause of a “likely” technical malfunction.
At the time of the explosions, AFP journalists saw a drone that air defence was attempting to shoot down, while the Kyiv city military administration said “air defence is at work.”
Journalists saw a cloud of black smoke in the air, just as the Kyiv city military administration announced the air raid alert was over.
Social media videos showed cheers from the crowd below as the drone was engulfed in flames.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said firefighters put out a fire on the ground floor of a four-storey shopping centre in the Solomyansky district where the drone had come down.
The fire spread over 50 square metres (538 sq ft) and caused some superficial damage but no victims were reported, Klitschko said.
(GUARDIAN UK With Agence France-Presse)