Russia admits striking Kyiv during UN chief’s visit

Zelensky says the attack was aimed at ‘humiliating’ the agency; journalist killed as missile hits her home

April 29, 2022 09:47 pm | Updated April 30, 2022 06:54 pm IST - Kyiv

 Emergency services work at the site where fires were triggered by an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 28, 2022.

Emergency services work at the site where fires were triggered by an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 28, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Russia confirmed on Friday it carried out an air strike on Kyiv during a visit by the UN chief, the first such attack on the Ukrainian capital in nearly two weeks and one that killed a journalist.

Vera Gyrych, a producer for the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, died when a Russian missile slammed into the house where she lived in Kyiv, the media group said.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it had deployed “high-precision, long-range air-based weapons” that it added “have destroyed the production buildings of the Artyom missile and space enterprise in Kyiv”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strikes, which immediately followed his talks with Antonio Guterres, were an attempt by Russia “to humiliate the UN and everything that the organisation represents”.

Earlier that day, Mr. Guterres had toured Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv where Moscow is alleged to have committed war crimes. Russia denies killing civilians.

Germany slammed the “inhumane” attack that showed Russian President Vladimir Putin has “no respect whatsoever for international law”.

In a residential part of Kyiv, AFP correspondents saw one building in flames and black smoke pouring into the air after the Russian strikes.

“I heard the sound of two rockets and two explosions. It was a sound similar to a flying plane, and then two explosions with an interval of three to four seconds,” Oleksandr Stroganov, 34, said.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said there had been “two hits in the Shevchenkovsky district”, with one hitting “the lower floors of a residential building”.

“It is a war zone, but it is shocking that it happened close to us,” said Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian office who was travelling with Mr. Guterres, adding that the delegation was safe.

Mr. Guterres, who arrived in Kyiv after talks in Moscow with Putin, had called war “evil” after visiting Bucha and demanded the Kremlin cooperate with an International Criminal Court investigation into the accusations.

Ukrainian prosecutors said they have pinpointed more than 8,000 alleged war crime cases and have opened investigations into 10 Russian soldiers for suspected atrocities in Bucha, where dozens of bodies in civilian clothes were found following Moscow’s retreat.

Those cases involve “killing civilians, bombing of civilian infrastructure, torture” and “sexual crimes” reported during Russia’s occupation of various parts of Ukraine, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told a German broadcaster.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities said they planned to evacuate civilians on Friday from the besieged Azovstal steel plant, the last holdout in Mariupol where hundreds of people are sheltering with Ukrainian troops.

In an early morning statement on Telegram, defenders of the factory said shelling had struck a field hospital inside the plant, causing it to collapse.

“Among the already wounded servicemen are dead, newly wounded and injured,” the statement said.

With the war claiming thousands of lives, Kyiv has admitted Russian forces have captured a string of villages in the Donbas region.

But Ukrainian forces, which have been armed by Western allies, also reported small victories elsewhere. In Kharkiv, Ukrainian forces said they recaptured a key village, Ruska Lozova, from the Russians.

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