Ukrainian capital Kyiv ‘not in danger’ but ready: minister

Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said there was “no danger of an attack on Kyiv today”, but said he understood “all scenarios are possible tomorrow”.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky says ‘serious training is underway’ [GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty-archive]

Ukraine’s interior minister said on Thursday there was no imminent risk of the Russians marching on Kyiv, more than 100 days after the Russian invasion, but the capital would not let its guard down.

“There is no danger of an attack on Kyiv today,” Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said.

“There is no concentration of troops near the Belarusian border, but we understand that all scenarios are possible tomorrow,” he said. AFPdressed in a black military sweater, a Ukrainian flag on the right sleeve.

“Therefore, serious training is underway – preparing the line of defense, training the troops who will remain” in Kyiv and around the city.

The minister also said Russian airstrikes could strike at any time.

“Any place in Ukraine can be targeted by rocket fire, including Kyiv,” he said.

Targets could even include “the government district” and the “historic center” of the capital, he added.

Russian forces had Kyiv in their sights when they brutally invaded Ukraine in late February, quickly taking control of several towns around the city.

But the invading forces withdrew from those suburbs a month later, leaving a trail of dead in their wake, and have since focused on trying to gain ground in the east and south of the country.

Monastyrsky said Ukraine would continue to prosecute captured Russian soldiers for alleged war crimes.

“These crimes have no statute of limitations. Every time these monsters are discovered, they will be held accountable,” he said.

Up to “288 people have been suspected to date”.

He added that negotiations were underway to repatriate Ukrainian prisoners of war held by Russia or Moscow-backed separatists.

“It is vital to bring them back here today, to save the boys from imminent death,” he said.

“We are trying to bring the injured first.”

Christi C. Elwood