Russian missile fire hit residential buildings in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv early on Sunday June 26, burying some people in rubble and hospitalizing at least four, the city’s mayor said.
Four explosions were heard around 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT), half an hour after aerial sirens went off in the city, which had not suffered Russian shelling for nearly three weeks. The missiles struck just hours before the start of a G7 summit in Germany and sparked calls from Ukraine for a stronger response to the Russian invasion.
The top three floors of an approximately 10-story building in the Shevchenkivsky district were completely destroyed and several fires broke out, belching thick smoke. Several hours later, firefighters were still struggling to control two blazes.
Four people were hospitalized, including a seven-year-old girl who lived on the ninth floor and was rescued from the rubble, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.
AFP reporters attended the rescue of the girl’s mother, an operation that lasted several hours. The mother was trapped under a concrete slab, according to rescuers. Authorities described her as a Russian citizen in her 30s, who was later taken to hospital in serious condition. Another missile hit a nearby kindergarten, apparently without causing any casualties.
Klitschko said rescue operations were underway and warned the strike toll could rise further.
The mayor said the missile strike was aimed at “intimidating Ukrainians” ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid from June 28-30 – as well as Sunday’s G7 summit in Bavaria. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “the G7 summit must react with more sanctions against Russia and more heavy weapons for Ukraine” in light of the latest Kyiv strikes. He tweeted that the seven-year-old was “sleeping peacefully in Kyiv until a Russian cruise missile blew up her house”. “Many others in Ukraine are on strike,” he continued.
Residents of the complex gathered at the bottom of the building, many of them in tears, according to AFP journalists present at the scene. A woman was still wearing a bathrobe. Edward Shkuta, who lives next to the building hit, said there had been four missiles since 6:30 a.m. A building “was directly hit on the upper floors and I saw injured people coming out,” he said.
Yuri, a 38-year-old resident who declined to give his surname, said: “I woke up to the first explosion, went to the balcony and saw missiles falling and heard a huge explosion – everything vibrated. Irena, 32, evacuated the building with her 17-month-old son, Makar. “We went downstairs with our emergency kit, which has been by the door since the war started,” she said. An AFP colleague living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzz preceding the explosions, which sounded like a missile strike.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat told AFP that the strikes were carried out by TU-95 and TU-160 bombers, “probably using KH101 type cruise missiles “. It was the third time since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24 that the Shevchenkivsky district of Kyiv was targeted by missiles.
He was hit in mid-March and then again on April 28 during a visit by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, killing a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty in her apartment. The district is near the Artem arms factory, which was founded in the late 19th century and produces air-to-air missiles and anti-tank rockets, according to a specialized Ukrainian military site.
The last Russian strike in Kyiv dates back to early June. He targeted a factory on the outskirts of the capital and injured one person.