Ukraine placed under air alert after Russian bomber warning

This handout photograph taken and released by National Police of Ukraine on February 14, 2024, shows rescuers extinguish a fire in a residential building following a missile attack in Selydove, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of UkraineAFP

Ukraine was under a nationwide air alert for over two hours on Thursday after the military warned that a group of bombers had taken off from a base in Russia.

The Ukrainian air force reported that several Tu-95MS strategic bombers had left the Olenya airfield in Russia’s far north, prompting the alert to be issued.

But it was lifted hours later, with the air force saying in a post on Telegram that the “missile threat is over”.

Explosions were officially reported in the regions of Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv and Poltava.

Kyiv’s local government said the air alert had been in place for more than two hours, but “anti-aircraft defense destroyed all enemy missiles” aimed at the city.

The governor of the eastern Zaporizhzhia region said one person was injured and “an infrastructure object” was hit.

Ukraine had also reported the takeoff of the strategic bombers, which date back to the Soviet era, earlier this month and in January.

At the end of December, Russia used the planes to carry out a wave of strikes across Ukrainian cities, including the capital, which killed 39 people.