Russian forces launched 40 exploding drones at Ukraine overnight, the authorities said on Saturday, sparking a big fire at a plant in central Ukraine, the latest attack on a region far from the front line.
Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 30 of the slow-moving drones fired from the Russian-occupied region of Crimea, according to the air force. Drones targeted the southern region of Odesa and Mykolaiv, which endure frequent Russian strikes, and started a fire at an infrastructure facility in the central region of Vinnytsia. There were no civilian casualties.
Russian forces have kept up an almost daily barrage of missile and drone attacks on Ukraine, often targeting civilian areas far from the front lines, even as fierce fighting continues in the east and south. Ukraine aims to push Moscow’s forces from all of its territory, but four months into a counteroffensive, relatively little ground has changed hands.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that the country remained determined to regain control over all of Ukraine, even 19 months into the war.
“There hasn’t been a day throughout this long period when Ukraine felt any hopelessness and when Russia had even a glimmer of real hope to break us,” he said.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has made clear that it considers the territory that Moscow’s forces have seized in Ukraine to be part of Russia. Moscow on Saturday was marking a year since Russia’s illegal annexation of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Battles for control have continued to rage in all four areas.
The Kremlin late Friday released a four-minute prerecorded address by the Russian president for the anniversary in which Mr. Putin repeated his propaganda line, insisting that Ukrainians in the occupied regions chose to be a part of Russia and that Moscow’s forces were fighting “for our sovereignty, spiritual values and unity.”
But even as Mr. Putin spoke of solidarity, Russian forces were shelling contested areas in the regions it claimed to have annexed. Attacks wounded seven civilians in the Donetsk region and three others in Kherson, the local authorities said on Saturday in posts on Facebook.