Ukrainian soldiers fire a D-30 howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut on March 21.
Russia launched a massive drone attack that killed at least three people, although it was largely repelled by Ukrainian air defenses, the military said on March 22, as heavy fighting continued in the east for control of the devastated city of Bakhmut.
An air-raid alert that lasted for several hours was declared around midnight in Kyiv and a number of regions.
The Kyiv city military administration said three people were killed and seven were wounded in the overnight attack in the Kyiv region.
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"As a result of a nighttime attack by drones in the Kyiv region, a civilian object was damaged. So far, we know of three people dead and seven wounded. The information is being clarified," the administration said on Telegram.
"On the night of March 22, the enemy launched another massive air strike with [Iranian-made] Shakhed-136 drones," Ukraine's military General Staff said in its daily report.
"According to preliminary information, 16 out of 21 drones launched by the enemy were destroyed by our defenders," it said, adding that the threat of air strikes remained high across the country. In the northern Zhytomyr region, a drone attack damaged an infrastructure facility, the head of the regional military administration Vitaliy Bunechko said on Telegram.
"Three enemy drones were shot down by air-defense units," Bunechko said, adding that there were no casualties. An explosion was reported in the western Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskiy during the alert, but local authorities later said no drone flights had been detected above the region. In the east, Ukrainian forces repelled 114 attacks over the past 24 hours, with focus on Bakhmut, where Russian forces have been attempting to advance toward the center of city, the General Staff reported. Bakhmut, now largely reduced to rubble, has been the epicenter of months of intense fighting that has prompted heavy losses to both sides despite analysts saying the city carries little strategic value.
In Sevastopol, in the Russian-occupied Crimea, the Moscow-installed authorities announced the suspension of ferry transportation in the area of the Black Sea port where Russia's Black Sea Fleet is headquartered.
Earlier, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said the city air defenses had repelled an attack by Ukrainian drones.
The information could not be independently verified and Ukraine has not commented on the alleged incident. On March 21, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida traveled to Kyiv and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a show of support that coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow. Zelenskiy posted footage of him greeting Kishida, calling him "a truly powerful defender of the international order and a longtime friend of Ukraine." Earlier, Kishida toured Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where the mayor has said 400 civilians were killed last year by Russian forces. Kishida laid a wreath outside a church before observing a moment of silence and bowing. Kishida's meeting with Zelenskiy came as Japan prepares to host a Group of Seven (G7) summit in May that the Japanese leader has said should send a strong signal that international order and the rule of law must be upheld in opposition to Russia's unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow launched in February of 2022. Zelenskiy said he would join the G7 summit online following an invitation from Kishida.