Ukraine-Russia war: Ukrainians urged to seek shelter as missile damages tower block in Kyiv

Subway stations are being used as bomb shelters amid the shelling and street fighting

Lamiat Sabin
Saturday 26 February 2022 10:45 GMT
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Missile explosion near Kyiv airport causes damage to residential building

Officials in Kyiv are warning people to seek shelter away from gunfire and missiles as street fighting begins against Russian forces.

Residents have been advised to remain in shelters, to avoid going near windows or on balconies, and to take precautions against being hit by debris or bullets as Russia continued its invasion of Ukraine.

The warning was issued on Saturday, while a battle was underway near a military unit to the west of Kyiv’s city centre, the military said.

Russian forces have launched coordinated missile and artillery attacks on Ukrainian cities, including the capital, in Europe’s worst conflict in decades that was launched by Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

An apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv
An apartment building damaged by recent shelling in Kyiv (REUTERS)

In Kyiv, gunfire erupted near government buildings in the city centre, military officials and a Reuters witness said.

A residential tower block more than 20-stories high was hit, and at least five of the apartments were completely destroyed.

People hiding out in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter
People hiding out in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter (AP)

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that the high-rise building is on the southwestern outskirts of Kyiv near Zhuliany airport. He said rescue workers were heading there.

The building was targeted with missiles, a photo shared on social media by Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba shows.

No casualties were immediately reported, according to reports.

Mr Kuleba said: “An apartment building has been hit Kyiv, our beautiful, peaceful city, has spent another night under attack by Russian ground forces and missiles.

“One of them hit an apartment building in Kyiv. I demand from the world to completely isolate the Russian Federation.

“Expel ambassadors. Oil embargo. Destroy the Russian economy. Stop the war criminals of the Russian Federation!”

Kyiv residents have been seeking sanctuary in the city’s underground system, where subway stations have been used as bomb shelters while Russian troops have invaded the city from several directions.

Ukrainian soldiers investigate debris of a burning military truck on a street in Kyiv
Ukrainian soldiers investigate debris of a burning military truck on a street in Kyiv (AP)

Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, said: “Over the past two days, hospitals, kindergartens and orphanages in Ukrainian cities have been shelled.

“We demand from the world a decisive response and isolation of Russia for its criminal acts.”

Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea at the cities of Sumy, Poltava and Mariupol and there was heavy fighting near the southern city of Mariupol.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has instructed people not to believe “fake news” claiming that he has told the army to surrender.

Ukrainian soldiers take position under a bridge during crossing fire in Kyiv
Ukrainian soldiers take position under a bridge during crossing fire in Kyiv (AP)

In addressing Ukrainians, Mr Zelensky said in a video posted to social media: “Good morning everybody. Do not believe fake news. I am here.

“We will not lay down our weapons. We will defend our Country. Our weapons are our strength.

“This is our land. Our country. Our children. We will protect all of them.”

Kyiv residents were told by the defence ministry to make petrol bombs – Molotov cocktails – to repel Russian troops.

Ukraine said more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed. Russia did not release casualty figures.

Mr Zelenskiy said late on Thursday that 137 soldiers and civilians have been killed with hundreds wounded.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the president’s office, said the situation in Kyiv and its outskirts was under control.

“There are cases of sabotage and reconnaissance groups working in the city, police and self-defence forces are working efficiently against them,” Mr Podolyak said.

New explosions shook the area near a major power plant that Russia was trying to attack, said Mr Klitschko.

Ukrainian troops are in control of the hydroelectric power plant to the north of Kyiv, according to the Russian news agency Interfax citing Ukraine’s energy ministry.

British armed forces minister James Heappey said there are only “isolated pockets” of Russian soldiers in Kyiv, and that this is a testament to the resistance shown by Ukrainian troops.

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