Speaking at a press conference after the European Political Community summit in Moldova on Thursday, June 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the tragic deaths of three people during a Russian missile attack in Kyiv on Thursday night.

Zelensky said he would personally visit the affected area to gather all the necessary details.

“I need to go there and see for myself. We will investigate the incident thoroughly,” he stated.

When asked who in particular, in his opinion, might be responsible and held accountable, Zelensky replied, “There may be a knockout,” likely hinting at the personal responsibility of the former boxer Klitschko, who is now the mayor of Kyiv.

The President also acknowledged that apart from external threats from Russia, Ukraine faces challenges from within. 

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“The reaction will be firm. It seems that Russia is not enough for us, you see, we also have internal enemies. I would say [who exactly], but a lot of journalists, I would say, there is a word, it’s on my tongue, but I can’t...”

During the press conference, Zelensky also addressed questions from journalists regarding Ukraine’s ongoing exposure to missile attacks and the need to enhance air defense systems with the help of international partners.

“We fight, we live, with more partners helping — we will protect [the citizens]. But it is necessary that the local authorities there also ‘turn on their brains,’” Zelensky said.

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What happened?

On Thursday night, June 1, a nine-year-old girl, her mother and another woman were struck by debris from an intercepted rocket after leaving their apartments to seek refuge in the nearest shelter, located in a Polyclinic, in the Desnyansky district of the capital.

"There was an alarm, people were running for the shelter,” Yaroslav, the husband of one of the dead women told Suspilne TV channel. “The shelter just wasn’t open, that’s all.”

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Following the investigation into the tragic incident where citizens were denied access to a shelter in Kyiv on June 1, law enforcement authorities have detained four individuals.

Those arrested include the first deputy head of the Desnyansky district state administration, the Polyclinic director, the deputy director responsible for technical matters, and a policlinic security guard. 

A report is being prepared against the three detained officials, charging them with suspicion of official negligence that resulted in severe consequences (Part 2 of Article 367 of the Criminal Code).

The security guard is being charged with endangering others’ lives, which led to fatalities (Part 3 of Article 135 of the Criminal Code).

The police are currently determining the extent of involvement of each of the four individuals in the tragic incident that resulted in the deaths and injuries of Kyiv residents near the shelter.

Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv City Military Administration (KCMA), has ordered a thorough inspection of all shelters in the capital, according to a statement released by the KCMA press service on their Telegram channel.

Popko vowed to prevent similar tragedies in the future, saying, “We cannot bring back the lives of those lost, but we can take all necessary measures to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.”

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He also instructed the heads of district state administrations to ensure that civil protection shelters of all types operate in an open mode 24/7.

He emphasized the personal responsibility of those in charge of preventing citizens from accessing these shelters and called for inspections to ensure their proper functioning. 

“The responsibility for the tragedy that occurred during the missile attack falls on authorities at all levels, from the city’s leadership to district heads,” Popko said.

“Therefore, neither I nor any other senior or lower-level manager in this city has the right to absolve ourselves of responsibility until the investigation is complete.”

Meanwhile, the capital’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, has issued instructions that all the shelters in Kyiv have to be open and operational round the clock.

“The decision on round-the-clock access to shelters is mandatory for all institutions and other public facilities. It is mandatory for control by all responsible services,” Klitschko said. “The public will also be involved in access control. All those who are not indifferent can join in and become public control inspectors.”

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“The patrol police will help check the availability of shelters during an air alert during curfew,” he added. 

The deaths of three people including a nine-year-old girl have shone a spotlight on an apparently widespread problem that many of Ukraine’s bomb shelters were closed during nighttime air raids.

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Comments (2)

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Elizabeth
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This looks bad of Zelensky. He’s trying to discredit a political rival - he’s been trying to smear Klitschko for years - whilst in the middle of a war. Doesn’t do his country any favours.

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David
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Stay United. Avoid witch-hunts. Learn lessons. Take corrective actions quickly. Hopefully root causes do not include wilful negligence.

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