Kyiv targeted by Russia in 'symbolic' attack before NATO summit as one killed and several injured in missile strikes

Source: : 2022-06-26 10:42:00 :

Ukraine’s capital has been attacked for the first time in three weeks by Russian missile strikes – as G7 leaders gathered in Germany with the invasion high on the agenda.

A nine-storey apartment block was struck along with the compound of a kindergarten as officials said one person was killed and six others injured in the attacks.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko had earlier said four people were taken to hospital and a seven-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.

He claimed the airstrikes may have been a “symbolic attack” by Moscow ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.

Kyiv comes under attack again – see Ukraine war updates

Smoke rises over a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
Smoke rises over a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv

Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s administration, said: “The Russians hit Kyiv again. Missiles damaged an apartment building and a kindergarten.”

The residential block was left smouldering with a crater in its roof as firefighters put out a blaze there, and debris was strewn over parked cars outside in the central Shevchenkivskiy district.

At another site 400 metres away, there was a large blast crater by a playground in a private kindergarten with smashed windows. Storage garages in the area were completely destroyed.

Referring to the Russian strikes, US President Joe Biden said “it’s more of their barbarism”, as he and fellow leaders from seven of the world’s advanced economies attended a summit in Bavaria.

A crater is seen at a compound of a kindergarten after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
A crater is seen at a compound of a kindergarten after a Russian missile strike in Kyiv

Boris Johnson said the West needed to maintain a united front against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The price of backing down, the price of allowing Putin to succeed, to hack off huge parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest, that price will be far, far higher,” the prime minister told reporters.

People living in constant fear in Kyiv, knowing their fragile sense of normality can be shattered

“This is my life,” says Larysa Liaskovska as she shows us the blown out windows in her apartment.

Living in constant fear, she describes her terror as cruise missiles hit her neighbourhood early this morning.

Around 6.30am I heard at least three loud bangs from our hotel in the centre of the city. We drove west towards the scene and followed the smoke rising into the air. We didn’t have to travel far.

Around two minutes drive from the heart of the city, we saw a destroyed apartment block.

A woman is being ushered away crying by the police. Another is rushed into an ambulance on a stretcher. Tired firefighters are covered in soot and some appear burned. Debris crashes from the building as rescuers search for residents in the rubble of their apartments.

The first information we receive is from a senior adviser to the Ministry of Internal Affairs who arrives at the scene. Anton Geraschenko is holding the passport of a Russian woman he says has been taken to hospital. “Russia is targeting their own people,” he tells us.

Mr Geraschenko says the woman’s husband has died and their young daughter has been taken to hospital. We haven’t been able to independently confirm this.

Nearby, a missile has also hit a kindergarten playground. A crater smoulders next to a slide and children’s chairs. The shattered windows framed by colourful murals. The contrast is horrible. Mercifully, it’s a Sunday and no children were there.

The sites of both explosions are close to a warehouse that it’s believed is being used as a weapons depot. This military target has made the area particularly vulnerable. It’s not the first time civilians have been hit here. A burnt-out apartment block next door to the one that was destroyed this morning was bombed in April when the UN Secretary General was visiting Kyiv.

It’s perhaps no coincidence this latest attack comes as G7 leaders gather in Germany.

A rhythm of daily life has resumed in Kyiv in recent weeks. People are back at work, back in their homes, taking walks in parks. But there’s an anxiety beneath the humdrum of the city. People live with the constant fear of an attack, knowing their fragile sense of normality can be shattered in an instant.

Up to four explosions were heard in the centre of Kyiv. Deputy mayor Mykola Povoroznyk said explosions heard later in other parts of Kyiv were air defences destroying further incoming missiles.

Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app that “according to prelim data, 14 missiles were launched against Kyiv region and Kyiv”.

Air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the missiles were Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles fired from planes over the Caspian Sea.

The last time the capital was hit by Russian airstrikes was 5 June.

Explosions have also been heard in the central city of Cherkasy, former regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said on Telegram. He did not give further details.

Cherkasy has been largely untouched by bombardment since Russia invaded the country in February in what Mr Putin called a special military operation to ensure Russian security and denazify Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to hit Ukrainian army training centres in the regions of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv – an apparent reference to strikes reported by Ukraine on Saturday.

Read more:
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Several Russian generals removed by Kremlin – UK defence intelligence

80% of troops in elite Ukrainian military unit killed or injured, says commander

The leaders of the G7 group at Bavaria's Schloss Elmau Castle, near Garmis
The leaders of the G7 group at Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau Castle, near Garmis

Meanwhile, Russian forces have been seeking to take the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region.

They have already claimed full control of Severodonetsk and the chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had been holed up.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region that includes Severodonetsk, said Russia was carrying out intense airstrikes on the neighbouring city of Lysychansk, destroying its television tower and seriously damaging a road bridge.

“There’s very much destruction – Lysychansk is almost unrecognisable,” he wrote on Facebook.

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