Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s 2nd largest city, kills at least 7

A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killed at least seven people overnight, including three children, Kharkiv region governor Oleh Syniehubov reported Saturday.

He said the Iranian-made Shahed drone hit civilian infrastructure in the Nemyshlyan district on the city, causing a massive fire that burned down 15 private houses.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said more than 50 people had been evacuated and that emergency workers had contained the blaze by Saturday morning.

The Ukrainian air force said air defense systems destroyed 23 out of 31 Iranian Shahed drones launched by Russia overnight. The drones primarily targeted the northeastern Kharkiv region and the southern province of Odesa, the statement said.

Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper said four people were injured there by the overnight drone attacks.

The attacks came in three waves, he said. The first targeted the regional capital — the port city of Odesa. All nine drones were shot down, but the debris damaged port infrastructure and injured one person.

The second and the third waves targeted port infrastructure in the Danube river area, Kiper said. A total of 12 drones were shot down and three people were injured.

Romania’s Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday that Russia carried out overnight drone attacks on Ukraine’s river ports of Ismail and Reni, near the border with Romania.

The ministry said that an F-16 jet of the Turkish Air Force was deployed from a Romanian airbase around 1:15 a.m. to carry out “reconnaissance missions” in national airspace to monitor the situation. Text alerts were also issued to residents in two counties adjacent to the attacks.

NATO member Romania has discovered drone debris on its territory several times before, following sustained attacks on Ukraine’s port infrastructure as Moscow attempted to disrupt Kyiv’s ability to export grain and other produce to world markets.

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Associated Press writers Stephen McGrath in Sighisoara, Romania, and Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed.

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