Russia launches missile attack on Kyiv during UN Secretary General visit

Credit: AP
Russia bombs Kyiv with missiles as UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, visits the capital Credit: AP

Russia sent missiles across Ukraine on Thursday including bombarding the city Kyiv while the head of the United Nations was visiting in the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago.

One of the two missiles fired at the Ukrainian capital hit the lower floors of a 25-storey residential building, injuring at least 10 people, according to Ukrainian officials.

The bombardment came barely an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a news conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said Ukraine has become “an epicentre of unbearable heartache and pain.”

Clean-up crews prepare to work at the site of an explosion in Kyiv. Credit: AP

The Secretary-General's spokesperson told CBS News that one of the Russian missiles that hit Kyiv struck near the hotel where the UN chief is staying.

But luckily, at the time, the UN delegation was meeting with the prime minister in his office and were not in the hotel at the time.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the blasts- which came hours after Joe Biden had announced a doubling of US military and economic aid to Ukraine- had hit the central Shevchenko district.

A spokesperson said Guterres and his team were safe.

However, at least one person was killed and several were injured, including some who were trapped beneath the rubble, according to rescue officials. 

Kyiv was among several Ukrainian areas targeted by Russian assaults.

A liquor store owner looks at the damage to his shop caused by an explosion in Kyiv on Friday. Credit: AP

Explosions were reported across the country, in Polonne in the west, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv, a large railway hub southwest of the capital.

The mayor of Odesa, in southern Ukraine, said rockets were intercepted by air defenses.

Ukrainian authorities also reported intense Russian fire in the Donbas - the eastern industrial heartland that the Kremlin says is its main objective - and near Kharkiv, a northeastern city outside the Donbas that is seen as key to the offensive.

The fresh attacks came as Guterres surveyed the destruction in small towns outside the capital that saw some of the worst horrors of the first onslaught of the war. 

He condemned the atrocities committed in towns like Bucha, where evidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia withdrew in early April in the face of unexpectedly stiff resistance.

“Wherever there is a war, the highest price is paid by civilians,” the UN chief lamented.

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During his nightly video address, Zelenskyy renewed his pledge to hold Russian soldiers accountable for crimes they commit and said about the 10 identified earlier on Thursday: “Some of them may not, after all, live until a trial and fair punishment. But only for one reason: This Russian brigade has been transferred to the Kharkiv region. There they’ll receive retribution from our military.”

The explosions in northwestern Kyiv’s Shevchenkivsky district came as residents have been increasingly returning to the city.

Cafes and other businesses have reopened, and a growing numbers of people have been out and about, enjoying the spring weather.