Mykhailo Vovtchynsky had just moved into a new building near central Kyiv when it was hit by a Russian missile on Thursday. He shudders to learn that Moscow confirmed on Friday it had fired a “high-precision” missile to hit a military factory across the street.
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The blast killed a journalist, injured ten people and damaged the building so badly that it was forced to move. It also happened during the first visit of the UN Secretary-General to Kyiv.
“If this is a high-precision attack, that’s really cynical. It’s inhumane,” the 22-year-old told AFP on Friday after he and his girlfriend removed their belongings from the building two weeks ago.
As he speaks, machines are clearing away the debris, rescue workers are cleaning up broken glass and inspecting the building, whose façade was destroyed by the three-story strike.
Rescuers also removed a bag-wrapped body on a stretcher from the building and took it to the morgue: The strike surprised Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vera Ghyrytch, confirmed US-funded radio.
“We have lost our beloved colleague who is greatly appreciated for her professionalism and dedication to her mission,” James Fly, President of RFE/RL, said in a press release.
Since the beginning of the war, Russia has been accused of targeting residential areas, although Moscow claims that it is doing everything it can to spare civilians.
The street that crosses the affected neighborhood on Thursday is lined with apartment buildings on one side and the premises of the Artem company on the other, which was apparently Moscow’s target.
Russia said it was targeting the workshops of this space company. According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry news site armyinform.com.ua, Artem is one of the companies of the Ukrainian state military-industrial complex UkrOboronProm and manufactures missiles.
When asked, UkrOboronProm did not immediately confirm this information. AFP could see that some of the factory buildings were in ruins and blackened by the flames.
The blast also shattered windows and shattered walls hundreds of meters away, severely damaging a nearby public clinic.
“I don’t think Russians are afraid of anything, not even the judgment of the rest of the world,” Anna Gromovych, deputy director of the clinic, told AFP.
Inside, broken doors and pieces of ceiling mingle with children’s toys in the waiting room.
Thursday’s strike, which came less than an hour after Antonio Guterres’ press conference a few kilometers away ended, also ended a relatively quiet period for the Ukrainian capital and its region, which had suffered more strikes since April 17.
Since Russian troops withdrew from the capital’s outskirts on March 31, the city has regained some semblance of normalcy — despite persistent roadblocks, the blaring of air raid sirens or fuel shortages.
Thursday’s strike was a reminder that the war is still here.
“We already had a strike in our area, so we didn’t expect more. “We said to each other, we don’t swim in the same water twice,” says Natalia Karpenko, 55, a staffing agency owner who lives near the site of the strike. The nearby Shevchenkivsky district had already suffered a strike on March 23, in which four people were injured.
But despite the threat, she has no intention of leaving Ukraine, as more than 5.4 million Ukrainians have already done since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
“We planted flowers near our house yesterday. War is war,” she shrugs.