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.
The attacks come as Ukrainian forces wage a counteroffensive to drive Russian forces from occupied territory in the country’s south and east — land that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has made clear that he considers to be a part of Russia.
A year ago Saturday, Russia illegally annexed 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.
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.
On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that Ukraine was determined to regain control over all of its territory.
“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.