Russian bombardment of Kyiv kills at least 3, including a child and her mother | CBC News

A pre-dawn Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s capital killed three people, including a nine-year-old and her mother, officials said, and inflicted the highest casualty toll from a single attack on Kyiv over the past month.

The latest Russian attack, using what Ukrainian officials said were short-range Iskander ground-launched missiles, coincided with events scheduled in Kyiv to celebrate International Children’s Day. Those events were cancelled.

Ukrainian air defences shot down all 10 cruise and ballistic missiles launched by the Kremlin’s forces, but falling debris caused damage and casualties on the ground.

The Kyiv City Administration reported one child was among the dead, and 10 people were wounded. The casualty toll was the most from one attack on Kyiv in the past month. The attack also damaged apartment buildings, a medical clinic, a water pipeline and cars. Earlier, the city government had said that two children were killed before revising the number to one.

Russia has kept up a steady barrage on the Ukrainian capital and other parts of the country in recent weeks as Kyiv readies what it says is a counteroffensive to push back Moscow’s troops, 15 months after their full-scale invasion. Kyiv was the target of a reported 17 drone and missile attacks last month.

A large section of two floors is missing from a multi-storey building.
A building is pictured damaged by a drone that was shot down during a Russian overnight strike in Kyiv on Thursday. (Alex Babenko/The Associated Press)

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that the dead included a nine-year-old girl, her mother and another woman.

Olena Zelenska, wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said one child was in hospital after the attack. “Children’s Day has to be about safe childhood, summer, life,” she tweeted. “But today it is about new crimes of [Russia] against children.”

United Nations human rights monitors said six children were killed and 34 were wounded last month alone. Since February 2022, at least 525 children have been killed and at least 1,047 have been injured, according to the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

“Sadly, as the world marks International Children’s Day, there is little to celebrate in Ukraine where civilians, including children, continue to pay a heavy price” said Matilda Bogner, the mission’s chief. 

Weeks of sleepless nights

Russia has repeatedly targeted Kyiv with waves of drone and missile attacks since the start of the invasion, but attacks against the capital have significantly intensified over the past month as Ukraine prepares for a counteroffensive. While most incoming weapons are shot down, many Kyiv residents are anxious and tired after weeks of sleepless nights listening to the sound of explosions.

Ukraine’s air defence has become increasingly effective at intercepting Russian drones and missiles, but the resulting debris can cause fires and injure people below.

A blonde-haired woman holds a child close as they sit indoors.
A woman sits with her daughter in a school’s shelter during an air raid alert after the Russian missile attack in Kyiv on Thursday. (Roman Pilpey/Getty Images)

One explosion sent missile fragments ripping through an apartment building in a leafy neighbourhood. In the morning light, paramedics escorted an elderly woman gingerly away from the building as the bare feet of a person killed in the attack poked out from underneath a plastic tarpaulin in a roped-off area between the trees.

“Around 3 a.m. there was a strike over there. I woke up and saw the fire. My door was smashed, I woke up my mom and ran to the corridor,” said resident Nikita Maslun, peering through a broken window. “Then we went down and ran outside. We saw people running. Windows were shattered and balconies destroyed.”

In Desnianskyi district, debris fell on a children’s hospital and a nearby multi-storey building. Two schools and a police department were damaged.

In another district, Dniprovskyi, a residential building was damaged by burning debris and heavy smoke; the blast wave blew out the windows, parked cars caught fire, and debris fell onto the roadway and courtyards.

In Darnytskyi neighbourhood, a water pipeline and a residential building were affected, and the explosive wave broke windows.

After a woman was killed watching an aerial attack from her balcony earlier this week, Kyiv authorities urged residents to heed warning sirens and stay in shelters or other safe locations. “You’ve got to be vigilant, as ballistic missiles fly at incredible speeds. From the moment the alarm is announced to the rocket’s arrival, you have only a few seconds!” they warned in a message to residents.

LISTEN l Paul Adams, BBC diplomatic correspondent, on recent drone attacks inside Russia:

Front Burner23:10What do drone strikes in Moscow, Kyiv signal about the war?

Ukraine also claimed last month to have downed some of Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted as providing a key competitive advantage.

On Wednesday, Russian forces carried out three aerial attacks over the south of Kherson region, along with missile and heavy artillery strikes on other parts of the region.

In earlier developments:

  • Russian troops around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant attacked the city of Nikopol and surrounding villages on the bank of the Dnipro River with drones and heavy artillery, damaging several residences.
  • Authorities in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar, which borders the annexed Crimean Peninsula, reported that drones crashed into two oil refineries. One briefly caught fire and another didn’t sustain damage, officials said. They didn’t explicitly blame Ukraine.
  • The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced the evacuation of children from two areas that have often come under Ukrainian shelling.

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