Russian ‘kamikaze’ drone ignites fires after hitting petrol station – killing seven, including three children, Ukraine says

World

Three children are among seven people who were killed in a Russian attack in northeastern Ukraine, according to officials.

Large fires broke out after the drone strike in Kharkiv – with at least 15 houses and a petrol station among the sites reportedly destroyed.

The regional prosecutor’s office said on Telegram that the bodies of three boys – age four, seven and seven months – were found in one house alongside their mother and father.

A married couple in their 60s died in another property and three people were hurt elsewhere, the Telegram post added.

The fires are believed to have started when one of the drones hit a petrol station in the Nemyshlianskyi district of Kharkiv – Ukraine‘s second-largest city – on Friday night.

“There was a great deal of fuel and that’s why there are these dreadful consequences from the fire,” said head of the prosecutor’s office, Oleksandr Filchakov.

Video and pictures of buildings on fire were posted on Telegram by Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov.

He said Iranian-made Shahed “kamikaze” drones were responsible for the attack, which happened at around 10.45pm.

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Fifty people are said to have been evacuated. Pic: Reuters

Firefighters carry a body of a resident killed in the attack. Pic: AP
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Firefighters carry the body of one of the victims. Pic: AP

Firefighters and rescuers worked through the night to put out the fires and search through debris, with 50 people evacuated.

Drones also hit a restaurant in the town of Velykyi Berluk, about 62 miles (100km) from Kharkiv, added Mr Synehubov, but no casualties have been reported.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 23 of the 31 drones – which also targeted the southern Odesa region.

Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said four people were injured there.

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Pic: Reuters

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Firefighters worked through the night in Kharkiv. Pic: Reuters

Russia has not commented but has repeatedly said it doesn’t deliberately target civilians.

Kharkiv is only about 14 miles (22.5km) from the Russian border and has been regularly targeted since the war started in February 2022.

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Romania also said on Saturday that Russia carried out overnight drone strikes near its border, on the Ukrainian river ports of Reni and Ismail.

It said an F-16 from the Turkish air force was deployed from a Romanian base at around 1.15am to carry out “reconnaissance”.

Romania has found drone debris on its territory in the past as Russia tries to disrupt Ukraine’s ability to export grain and other produce.

The latest attacks come after President Zelenskyy this week replaced the man in charge of Ukraine’s war effort.

National hero General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi was swapped with Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi – a move experts say could hurt troop morale and unsettle Western allies.

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