A block of flats in the center of Kyiv stands smashed and smoldering following an early morning missile attack launched by Russian forces on Sunday, 26 June, the third strike on the neighborhood since mid-March, shortly after the Russian army laid siege to the capital.
At least one man was killed in the attack, his young daughter taken to hospital, her mother eventually pulled from the simmering rubble by rescuers, authorities announced on the scene.
“The father was killed instantly. The girl is in hospital and expected to recover,” Oleksandr Popovtsev, the official who heads Kyiv’s Shevchenko District where the strike took place, told Kyiv Post on the scene.
The family was sleeping soundly in their home, when terror struck from the sky, he said.
The building, nearly split in half from the roof down, was evacuated shortly after the blast, with rescuers continuing to search the rubble for more survivors.
Air raid sirens shattered the dawn silence just after 06:00 AM on Sunday, 26 June. A series of explosions resounded across the capital not long afterwards.
By 09:00 AM, the side street where the missiles had hit – a five-minute walk from Lukyanivka Metro Station – is cordoned off by countless soldiers, police and rescue workers. Fire red ambulances and water trucks block all traffic on the nearby road.
Great clouds of white smoke billowed into an otherwise clear blue sky.
Closer up, the air becomes rancid from the smell of charred debris. A large crane dominates the scene in front of the half-destroyed building, a fire hose runs its length, gushing water onto the caved-in roof, where rescuers sift through broken cement against in the shadow of the sun.
A man on the scene who identified himself only as a member of the security services said that the timing and choice of targets was not by chance.
“They wanted to send a message.” Ukraine’s recent receiving of EU candidacy status and the steady supply of sophisticated arms from the West have made Moscow want to lash out on the capital, he said.
“We need Patriot missiles to close the gap in our air defenses,” he said, “Make sure you publish that.”
The Ukrainian military have reported that the strike was carried out by Russian long-range bombers flying from the Caspian Sea. Altogether, as many as six missiles were launched by the Russians, one reportedly taken out by Ukrainian air defense batteries.
A nearby Kindergarten was also hit but empty at the time of the dawn strike. The building right next door was destroyed in a similar missile attack at the end of April.
In March, buildings on the next street over were banged up.
The neighbourhood is home to the Artem weapons plant, which used to produce air-to-air missiles and anti-tank rockets, according to a specialised Ukrainian military website. The plant lies equidistant from the site of all three missile attacks.
The strike in late April, coincided with the visit to Kyiv by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The building directly next door was destroyed by a missile attack, killing a Radio Liberty journalist in her flat.
Earlier this month, a missile attack was carried out on a rail depot on the city’s left bank.
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