Firefighters work on a site following a missile attack in a village outside Kyiv on Aug. 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Ukraine’s capital came under the heaviest missile and drone attack since the spring, as a Russian airbase far from the battlefield was hit in one of the most widespread drone assaults since the Kremlin’s invasion.

In Kyiv, at least two people were killed and three wounded amid housing damage and falling debris in the capital region, local authorities said Wednesday. The drone strike in Russia’s northwestern Pskov region damaged four Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes at an airport, state-run Tass news agency reported, citing an unidentified emergency services official.

The strikes came as the Ukrainian military cites progress in a grinding three-month counteroffensive to reclaim occupied territory and steps up attacks far behind the front lines, including widening use of strikes inside Russia and deploying sea drones against Russian ships in the Black Sea. Last week it also staged a special-forces raid in occupied Crimea.

Ukraine’s air defense forces said they shot down 28 Russian cruise missiles and 15 drones overnight. Apart from Kyiv, Russian missiles and drones were intercepted in four other regions including Odesa and Mykolaiv in the south, according to the air defense.

Pskov borders NATO member states Estonia and Latvia to the west and lies some 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Ukraine. It’s home to an elite Russian paratroop unit that was deployed to Ukraine’s Bucha, where atrocities were recorded during the occupation. Regional Governor Mikhail Vedernikov said on social media that all commercial flights from the airport were halted Wednesday.

Moscow meanwhile shut four international airports briefly as a combat drone was downed near the capital, Tass reported, citing emergency services. In central Russia, drones also were shot down in the Ryazan, Kaluga, Oryol and Bryansk regions.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it destroyed four Ukrainian speedboats in the Black Sea. The intensified fighting pushed wheat prices up from the lowest level since early June.

Attention shifted this week to the frontline in southern Ukraine, where authorities in Kyiv said troops had pierced the first line of Russian fortifications and are fighting to widen the breach. The counteroffensive has been bogged down by Russian forces dug in along a vast front line stretching from the Donbas region in Ukraine’s east through the south to the mouth of the Dnipro river.

The slow-moving push has worried Ukraine’s allies, who say a long fight risks giving Russian President Vladimir Putin the upper hand in a war of attrition.

Daryna Krasnolutska

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