KYIV (AFP, REUTERS) – Russian missile strikes hit a residential complex in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv early Sunday (June 26), wounding two people and burying others under rubble, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Four explosions were heard at around 0330 GMT (11.30am Singapore time), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.
“Several explosions in the Shevchenkivsky district,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.
“Ambulances and rescuers are on site. In two buildings, the rescue and evacuation of residents is under way,” he added.
Mr Klitschko, who visited the scene, later said that “there are people under the rubble”.
“Some of the inhabitants have been evacuated, two wounded people have been hospitalised,” he added.
A seven-year-old girl had been rescued from under the rubble, he said.
“She is alive,” he said on Telegram, adding that rescue workers were trying to “save her mother”.
Mr Klitschko said it was a Russian missile strike intended to “intimidate Ukrainians” ahead of a Nato summit in Madrid from June 28-30.
The state emergency service said on Telegram that “as a result of enemy shelling, a fire broke out in a nine-story building”.
An AFP team said there was a fire on the top three floors of the building and its stairwell was completely destroyed.
Thick smoke was seen in the affected residential area, which was cordoned off by police.
An AFP colleague living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzz preceding the explosions, which sounded like a missile strike.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko said on Telegram that Russia had fired 14 missiles at Kyiv and its region on Sunday morning.
Regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram that the “the enemy had struck the capital”.
“A missile was shot down in the Kyiv region, the debris fell on a village”, he added.
The residents of the residential complex gathered at the bottom of the building, many of them in tears. One woman was still wearing a bathrobe.
“They bombed here three times,” 38-year-old resident Yuri told AFP, declining to give his surname.
“I woke up at the first explosion, went to the balcony and saw missiles falling and heard a huge explosion – everything vibrated,” he said.
Mr Edouard Chkouta, who lives next door, said there had been four missiles.
A building “was directly hit on the top floors and I saw wounded people coming out”, he said.
Irena, 32, evacuated the building with her 17-month-old son Makar.
“We came down with our emergency kit, which has been next to the door since the war started,” she said.
The historic district, one of Kyiv's central, is home to a cluster of universities, restaurants and art galleries.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24, but abandoned an early advance on Kyiv in the face of fierce resistance bolstered by Western arms.
Since then Moscow and its proxies have focused on the south and Donbas, an eastern territory made up of Luhansk and its neighbour Donetsk, deploying overwhelming artillery in some of the heaviest ground fighting in Europe since World War II.
The last Russian strike in Kyiv was in early June, targeting a factory on the outskirts of the capital and injuring one person.
At the end of April, a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty was killed in her apartment by a Russian strike on Kyiv during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.