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Ukraine updates: Kyiv hit by 'massive' Russian drone attack

Published November 25, 2023last updated November 25, 2023

Ukrainian authorities said they were able to repel Russia's "most serious" drone attack since the war began. Several people were injured, and buildings and power infrastructure were damaged. DW has the latest.

A heavily damaged building surrounded by debris
A kindergarten was among buildings destroyed during a Russian drone attack in KyivImage: Valentyn Ogirenko/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukraine reported widespread Russian drone attacks overnight, hitting several regions but particularly targeting the capital, Kyiv.

Several districts in Kyiv were hit and air raid alerts remained in effect for several hours. Ukraine's air force said the majority of the drones were shot down. 

Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv city administration called it the "most massive air attack by drones on Kyiv" to date.

At least five people had sustained injuries. Several buildings were damaged and power outages were reported in the capital. 

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged more assault rifles and ammunition to Ukraine during his meeting with EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

And Russia's Justice Ministry deemed Mikhail Kasyanov, the first former Prime Minister under Vladimir Putin, to be a "foreign agent." Russia claimed that Kasyanov opposes Russia's war in Ukraine.    

Here's a look at the latest regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine for Saturday, November 25:

Skip next section Swiss president pledges to support Ukraine 'for the long haul'
November 25, 2023

Swiss president pledges to support Ukraine 'for the long haul'

Swiss President Alain Berset affirmed his country's long-term support for Ukraine after visiting Kyiv on Saturday.

"In talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Berset stressed that Switzerland stands in solidarity with Ukraine for the long haul, even in times of multiple concurrent crises," the Swiss government said.

Berset announced new aid including 10 ambulances and six fire engines to replace damaged ones.

The Swiss president, who was in Ukraine for an international food security summit, also visited Bucha where many civilians were killed in the early stages of the war and laid flowers at a memorial for the Soviet-era Holodomor.

Skip next section Zelenskyy remembers 'genocide' on Holodomor Remembrance Day
November 25, 2023

Zelenskyy remembers 'genocide' on Holodomor Remembrance Day

On the 90th anniversary of the Soviet-era famine known as the Holodomor, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said it was "extremely important" to remember it as a genocide that killed millions of Ukrainians between 1932 and 1933.

"They tried to exterminate us, to subjugate us, to torture us. They failed," Zelenskyy said in a speech to mark Holodomor Remembrance Day on Saturday.

"They wanted to conceal the truth from us and hush up the terrible crimes forever. They failed. And today, with utmost sorrow and respect, we honor the memory of millions of our people." 

He and his wife, Olena Zelenska, paid their respects at a memorial to the victims of the Holodomor in central Kyiv.

Zelenskyy also linked the Holodomor, which took place under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"This is a process where the line of totalitarian Soviet policy and the line of modern Russian policy form the equal sign together. Evil was not stopped. Was not atoned for. And now we are stopping it," he said.

Volodomyr Zelenskyy, Olena Zelenska and Ukrainian soldiers placing candles before a statue of a young girl
Volodomyr Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska paid their respects at a Holodomor memorial in KyivImage: Kyodo/picture alliance
Skip next section 5 wounded, power outages in Kyiv after drone strikes
November 25, 2023

5 wounded, power outages in Kyiv after drone strikes

Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said in updates on social media that five people had been injured in Russian drone attacks on the capital overnight. 

He said that an 11-year-old girl was among the injured and that buildings had been damaged in several parts of the city. 

Air force chief Mykola Oleschuk said 71 of the 75 drones launched at Ukraine, mostly at Kyiv, had been downed. 

Ukraine's energy ministry also issued a statement saying that the "large-scale drone attack in the capital cut off power to an overhead line." 

"As a result, 77 residential buildings and 120 facilities in the central part of the city lost power," the ministry said, adding that work had begun to restore service. 

"Our soldiers shot down most of the drones. Unfortunately, not all," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram. "But we continue to work to strengthen our air defense and shoot down more," he added. 

Skip next section Swiss president arrives in Kyiv for food security summit
November 25, 2023

Swiss president arrives in Kyiv for food security summit

Swiss President Alain Berset said early on Saturday that he had arrived in Ukraine's capital.

Berset said he would be meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and attending an international summit on food security in the city. 

"The focus is on the impact of Russia's war of aggression on global food security and Switzerland's long-term support for Ukraine," Berset wrote on social media. 

Finland's foreign ministry also announced an additional €3 million (roughly $3.3 million) in support to improve food security in Ukraine in the run-up to Saturday's meeting. 

Ukraine first hosted the summit in November last year, looking to draw attention to Russia's invasion's impact on its agricultural exports

The event also coincides with more intense drone attacks than usual overnight in Kyiv. 

Kenyans suffer as Russia pulls out of Ukraine grain deal

Skip next section Ukraine reports major drone attack, mainly targeting Kyiv
November 25, 2023

Ukraine reports major drone attack, mainly targeting Kyiv

Ukraine's air force said Russia had used kamikaze drones to attack several sites around the country, particularly the capital Kyiv. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia launched more than 70 drones overnight, most of which were shot down. He called the attack "wilful terror," noting it came on the memorial day recalling the Holodomor famine in Soviet-ruled Ukraine in the 1930s.

The city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said on Telegram that rescue workers were trying to free two women trapped under rubble dislodged by one of the drones in a five-story residential building.

Kyiv authorities said the drone attack "was the most massive since the beginning of the full-scale invasion" in February 2022.

Klitschko also said fragments from a drone had started a fire at a children's nursery. 

Several districts of the capital were hit. Klitschko called it Russia's "most serious" drone attack on the capital to date. 

An air attack alert remained in effect for the Kyiv area for several hours starting around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. 

Ukraine's air force described the attack, which it said used Iranian-made Shahed drones, as the largest of its kind carried out by Russia. 

A damaged building seen in twilight
Damage to a building seen in the early hours Saturday near Kyiv following a massive Russian drone attackImage: Felipe Dana/picture alliance/AP
Skip next section Russia designates former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov as a 'foreign agent'
November 25, 2023

Russia designates former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov as a 'foreign agent'

Russia's Justice Ministry added former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to its register of "foreign agents."

Mikhail Kasyanov became prime minister in 2000 after Putin was elected to the presidency and served through 2004, when he was dismissed.

He became a prominent opposition figure after leaving office and attempted to run for president in 2008, but his candidacy was rejected by the national election commission.

Russia expanded a "foreign agents" law following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, doubling down on a crackdown on opposition under Putin.

Not only are figures and organizations who receive money or support from outside the country designated as foreign agents, but also those considered under "foreign influence."

The ministry said Kasyanov “took part in the creation and dissemination of messages and materials of foreign agents to an unlimited circle of people, disseminated false information about the decisions taken by public authorities of the Russian Federation and the policies pursued by them” and “opposed the special military operation in Ukraine.”

Former Russian PM Mikhail Kasyanov: 'Putin's future started to be questioned'

Skip next section Trudeau pledges more weapons for Kyiv during meeting with EU leaders
November 25, 2023

Trudeau pledges more weapons for Kyiv during meeting with EU leaders

Canada and the European Union said they would "stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes" at a summit in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel for the summit.

They said in statement they will "work to address Ukraine's immediate military and defense needs and ensure Ukraine has the long-term security commitments needed." Michel said that the EU was "ready to do more in the weeks to come."

Trudeau said Canada would donate 11,000 assault rifles to Ukraine along with nine million rounds of ammunition. 

Von der Leyen said the EU has trained 30,000 Ukrainian troops out of its goal of 40,000. She would soon disclose details on what the EU plans to do with Russian assets it seized in response to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Despite having launched a counteroffensive in June, Ukrainian forces have so far failed to gain ground, with the war now approaching 2024.

Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, Canada has pledged Canadian $2.4 billion (US$1.8 billion, €1.6 billion) in military aid to Ukraine.

The announcements come as the US, Ukraine's biggest military backer by far, has been unable to pass additional funding through Congress amid political deadlock. 

EU struggling with Ukraine ammunition pledge

msh,rm,wd/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)