Kyiv rocked by Russian cruise missile explosions, Ukraine says

By Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) – Russia struck Kyiv on Sunday with cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea, hitting a railcar repair factory in the Ukrainian capital, in the first such attack in weeks, the Reuters said. Ukrainian army and the head of the country’s railways.

Dark smoke billowed into the sky over the eastern outskirts of Kyiv. At least one person was hospitalized but no deaths were immediately reported, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Ukrainian air defenses shot down an incoming missile around 06:00 local time (0300 GMT), the military said.

A Kyiv resident, Kostyantyn Nikitenko, who lives near the repair shop, said he immediately took refuge in the hallway of his apartment when he heard several powerful explosions around that time.

“Every 10 to 30 seconds the following explosions would occur. With each new explosion, it was more and more powerful, and I had the impression that it was getting closer and closer, ”he said, adding that he then saw a column of black smoke 100 meters emerge from behind a nearby building.

“There hasn’t been a strike in Kyiv for a while, and maybe most people, myself included, have developed some kind of delusion that the worst is behind us. But it was a reminder that the war continues,” Nikitenko said.

A Russian missile that was likely heading for Kyiv flew “at a critical low altitude” over a major nuclear power plant in the southern region of Mykolaiv, state nuclear operator Energoatom said on Telegram. He then posted a video that appeared to confirm his account. Reuters could not independently verify the images.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles destroyed T-72 tanks and armored vehicles supplied to Ukraine by Eastern European countries housed at a railcar repair plant in Kyiv.

Oleksandr Kamyshin, head of Ukrainian railways, confirmed that four missiles hit the Darnytsia wagon repair plant in eastern Kyiv, but said there was no military equipment at the site .

“Their target (of Russia) is the economy and the civilian population,” he said.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation”.

The sprawling rail system served as a vital lifeline as the February 24 Russian invasion crippled Ukraine’s economy and cut off export routes through the Black Sea.

The missiles were the first to hit the capital since late April, when a Radio Liberty producer was killed in a Russian strike that hit the building in which she lived.

“According to preliminary data, the (Russians) launched missiles from Tu-95 aircraft from the Caspian Sea,” the Ukrainian Air Force said in a statement.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has called on the West to impose more sanctions on Russia to punish it for strikes and supply more weapons to Ukraine.

“The Kremlin is resorting to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes on Kyiv have only one goal: to kill as many as possible,” he wrote in a tweet.

The mayor of the historic town of Brovary, about 20 km (12 miles) from central Kyiv, urged people to stay home as there had been reports of a soot smell coming from the smoke.

Air raid sirens regularly disrupt life in Kyiv, but there have been no major strikes on the city for several weeks after Moscow turned the focus of its invasion to the east and south.

The Darnytskyi district on the left bank of the Dnipro extends from the fringes of Kyiv to the banks of the river while the Dniprovskyi region to the north of the city lies along the river.

Oleksandr Honcharenko, mayor of Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk region, reported overnight strikes on the city, causing extensive damage but no casualties.

(Writing by Lidia Kelly and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Tomasz Janowski)

Christi C. Elwood