“There were four missiles from 6:30 a.m.” (03:30 GMT), Edouard Chkouta, who lives in this well-to-do district in the northwest of the Ukrainian capital, told AFP.
An apartment building “was hit directly on the top floors and I saw with my own eyes injured people coming out,” he said.
This is the third time since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that this district located not far from the historic center has been targeted by missiles. He was first hit in mid-March, then on April 28, during the visit to kyiv by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. A Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty had died.
The district’s arms factory, called Artem, founded at the end of the 19th century, notably produces air-to-air and anti-tank rockets and large-caliber missiles, according to a specialized Ukrainian military site.
Shortly after the strikes, dozens of residents gathered on the sidewalks in front of the affected building, some in tears, others in bathrobes or accompanied by their dog, while the emergency services began to evacuate, noted a team. AFP on the spot.
The last three floors of the building, which has about ten, were completely destroyed. Several fires broke out, releasing thick brown smoke. Firefighters fought for several hours to control two sources of fire.
An AFP collaborator living in another building in the same residential complex heard a loud buzz preceding the explosions, typical of missile attacks.
A Ukrainian air force spokesman said the strikes were carried out by missiles, “probably X101s”, fired by TU-95 and TU-160 bombers from the Caspian Sea. Moscow did not immediately confirm this information.
– “Intimidation” before the summit –
“I went to the balcony, I saw missiles falling and heard a huge explosion, everything vibrated,” Yuri, 38, who also lives in this complex, told AFP.
Four injured were hospitalized, including a seven-year-old girl who lived on the ninth floor of the affected building. It was “extracted from the rubble”, explained the mayor of kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, who arrived quickly on the site.
The balance sheet could still change. Another missile hit a nearby kindergarten, apparently with no casualties.
AFP witnessed the rescue of the seven-year-old girl’s mother, which took several hours. She was stuck under a concrete slab, according to the emergency services. Authorities presented her as a citizen of the Russian Federation, in her 30s. She was taken to hospital in serious condition.
According to Mr. Klitschko, the Russians wanted to “intimidate the Ukrainians (…) as the NATO summit and the G7 summit approached, the two events occurring in Bavaria and then in Spain from this Sunday and until Thursday.
Irena, 32, stepped out onto the sidewalk with her 17-month-old son Makar. “We went down with our emergency backpack which has been near the door since the start of the war because we had to evacuate,” she said.
The last Russian strike on the capital dates back to June 5, and targeted a factory on the southeastern outskirts, injuring one person. Nevertheless, the aerial alert sirens sound almost daily, inviting the inhabitants to go to the shelters. The alerts on Sunday morning lasted more than five hours.