Kyiv, Ukraine – Russia bombed targets from one end of Ukraine almost to the other on Thursday, including Kyiv, bombing the city as the United Nations chief was visiting in the boldest assault on the capital since Russian forces pulled out weeks ago.
Rescue officials said nearly a dozen people were injured in the attack on Kyiv, including one who lost a leg and others who were trapped under the rubble when two buildings were hit.
The bombing came just an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said Ukraine had become “an epicenter of unbearable grief and pain”. A spokesperson said Guterres and his team are fine.
Meanwhile, explosions were reported across the country, in Boulogne in the west, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv, a major railway hub southwest of the capital. The mayor of Odessa, in southern Ukraine, said air defenses had intercepted the missiles.
Ukrainian authorities have also reported intense Russian fire in Donbas – the eastern industrial heartland that the Kremlin says is its main target – and near Kharkiv, a northeastern city outside Donbas seen as a key to the offensive.
In the devastated southern port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters are holed up steel factory This represents the last pocket of the resistance, which she said was focused on at night, killing and wounding more people. The authorities have warned that the lack of potable water within the city could lead to outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
In Zaporizhzhia, an important road station for tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing Mariupol, An 11-year-old boy was among at least three injured In a missile attack, authorities said, it was the first to hit a residential area in the southern city since the war began. Shards of glass cut the boy’s leg to the bone.
“It only takes a second and you have nothing left,” said Vadim Vodostoev, the boy’s father.
The new attacks came as Guterres was inspecting the devastation in small towns outside the capital that witnessed some of the worst horrors of the war’s first offensive. He condemned the atrocities committed in Cities like Bucha, Evidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia withdrew in early April in the face of unexpectedly stiff resistance.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations lamented, “Wherever there is war, civilians pay the highest price.”
Separately, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General accused 10 Russian soldiers of “involvement in the torture of peaceful people” in Bucha. Prosecutor Irina Venediktova did not say that her office had filed criminal charges, and appealed to the public to help collect evidence. Russia denies targeting civilians.
During his nightly video address, Zelensky renewed his pledge to hold Russian soldiers accountable for the crimes they commit and said of the 10 identified earlier on Thursday: “Some of them, after all, may not live until trial and just punishment. But for one reason only: This has been conveyed.” The Russian brigade to the Kharkiv region. There they will take revenge on our army. “
In the attack on Kyiv, explosions rocked the city and fires scattered from windows in at least two buildings – including an apartment block – in the capital, which have been relatively unharmed in recent weeks. Ukraine’s emergency services said 10 people were injured in the attack, which sent plumes of smoke over the city.
The explosions came in the Shevchenkivsky district northwest of Kyiv as residents increasingly returned to the city. Cafes and other businesses have reopened, and more and more people are taking outside to enjoy the spring weather.
It was not immediately clear how far after the attack on Guterres was.
Getting a full picture of the battle going on in the east was difficult because the air strikes and artillery shelling made the movement of journalists too dangerous. Several journalists have been killed in the war, now in its third month.
Also, both Ukraine and Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the east have imposed strict reporting restrictions from the combat zone.
Western officials say the Kremlin’s clear goal is to capture the Donbass by encircling and crushing Ukrainian forces from the north, south and east.
But so far, Russian and allied separatist forces appear to have made only minor gains, capturing several small towns while attempting to advance in relatively small groups against the powerful Ukrainian resistance.
Russian military units were attacked in an unsuccessful attempt to storm Kyiv and had to regroup and replenish. Some analysts say the delay in launching a full offensive may reflect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to wait until his forces are ready for a decisive battle, rather than rushing in and risking another failure that could shake his rule amid worsening economic conditions. at home due to Western sanctions.
Many observers suspect that Putin wants to be able to achieve a major victory in the east by D-Day, May 9, one of the proudest holidays in the Russian calendar, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.
As Russia presses its offensive, civilians are once again bearing the brunt.
“It’s not only scary. It’s when your stomach cramps in pain,” said Tatiana Pirogova, a resident of Kharkiv. “When they shoot during the day, it’s still fine, but when evening comes, I can’t describe how terrible it is. “
The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces had exposed several places in Donbass to “intense fire” and that over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces had repelled six attacks in the area.
Four civilians were killed in heavy shelling of residential areas in the Luhansk region of Donbass, according to the region’s governor.
Plumes of smoke could be seen billowing at various points across the Donetsk region of Donbass, and artillery and sirens were heard intermittently.
A senior US defense official said Thursday that many Russian soldiers who were in Mariupol are leaving and heading to the northwest. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the US military assessment, did not have exact numbers but said a “large number” of about a dozen battalion tactical groups that were in the city were on the move.
The official said Russian forces are making slow and incremental advances into the Donbass – only gaining several kilometers on any given day. As of Thursday, Russia had launched about 1,900 missiles at Ukraine – the vast majority of which were launched from outside Ukraine’s borders. Most hits on Mariupol and Donbass.
In Mariupol, a video posted online by the Ukrainian Azov Regiment inside the steel plant showed people combing through the rubble to take out the dead and help the wounded. The regiment said that the Russians bombed an improvised underground hospital and its operating room, killing an unspecified number of people. The video cannot be independently verified.
An estimated 100,000 people remain trapped in Mariupol.
“Deadly epidemics may spread in the city due to the lack of central water supply and sanitation,” the city council said in the Telegram messaging app. It reported corpses decomposing under the rubble and a “catastrophic” shortage of drinking water and food.
Ukraine urged its allies to send more military equipment to repel the Russians. US President Joe Biden asked Congress for an additional order 33 billion dollars to help Ukraine.