Kyiv in 'no danger' but prepared, says Ukraine minister

Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky talks with journalists in Kyiv, on June 9, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV, UKRAINE (AFP) - Ukraine's interior minister said on Thursday (June 9) there was no imminent risk of Russians marching on Kyiv, more than 100 days after Russia invaded, but the capital would not let its guard down.

"There is no danger of an attack on Kyiv today," Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said.

"There is no concentration of troops near the Belarusian border, but we understand that any scenarios are possible tomorrow," he told AFP, dressed in a black military sweater, a Ukrainian flag on its right sleeve.

"Therefore, serious training is under way - preparation of the line of defence, training of troops who will remain" in Kyiv and around the city.

The minister also said Russian air strikes could hit at any time.

"Any place in Ukraine can be a target for rocket fire, including Kyiv," he said.

Targets could even include "the government quarter" and "historic centre" of the capital, he added.

Russian forces had their sights set on Kyiv when they moved into Ukraine in late February, rapidly taking over control of several towns around the city.

But the invading forces withdrew from those suburbs a month later, leaving a trail of death in their wake, and have since focused on trying to gain ground in the east and south of the country.

People shop at a street market in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 4, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Monastyrsky said Ukraine would continue to prosecute captured Russian soldiers for alleged war crimes.

"These crimes have no statute of limitations. Whenever these monsters are found, they will be held accountable," he said.

Up to "288 people have been suspected so far."

He added that negotiations were under way to bring home Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia or Moscow-backed separatists.

"It is vital to bring them back here today, to save the boys from imminent death," he said.

"We are working to return the wounded first."

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