War in Ukraine, Day 64 | Bomb attacks in Kyiv during a full visit of the UN Secretary-General

(Kyiv) Russian missiles hit Kyiv on Thursday evening for the first time since mid-April and amid a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who in turn expressed regret that the United Nations Security Council had failed to avert war in Ukraine.

Updated yesterday at 5:57pm.

Joshua MELVIN with Emmanuel PEUCHOT in Kharkiv
Media Agency France

what you need to know

  • Kyiv is bombed by Russia during an official visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres;
  • The White House on Thursday offered to use assets seized from Russian oligarchs to “compensate for the damage done to Ukraine;
  • Joe Biden will ask Congress for $33 billion;
  • Moscow on Thursday condemned “acts of terrorism” following incidents in the pro-Russian separatist Moldova region of Transnistria;
  • The Russian administration, which controls the city of Cherson, wants to introduce the ruble there from May 1;
  • Almost 5.4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since their country was invaded;
  • Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on Moscow to “agree to cooperate” in the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation;
  • Russian forces intensify offensive in east;
  • Canadian Parliament condemns ‘genocide’

AFP journalists saw a floor of a building burn and black smoke billow from broken windows, while many police officers and rescue workers attended.

“In the evening the enemy fired on Kyiv. Two strikes in Chevchenkovsky district,” “on the lower floors of an apartment building,” said the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Photo Efrem Lukatsky, Associated Press

Firefighters try to put out a fire in Kyiv caused by a rocket attack.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, “five rockets” fell on the capital.

“It says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards international institutions, the efforts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the UN and everything the organization stands for,” Zelenskyy commented in a video.

Ten people were injured in the rocket attacks, the emergency services wrote on Facebook. According to the same source, a 25-story apartment building was attacked, “the first two floors of which were partially destroyed.”

Photo SERGEI SUPINSKY, Agence France-Presse

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Mr Guterres is “shocked” but “certain”, for his part wanting to reassure a United Nations spokesman, Saviano Abreu, regretting that “it happened near where we were” even though it is a “war zone”.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba, who said the missiles fired were cruise missiles, called it a “disgusting act of barbarism,” and the head of the presidential administration, Andriï Yermak, called for Russia to be stripped of its veto power in the UN Security Council.

Hours earlier, Joe Biden reiterated his country’s support for Ukraine in the face of “atrocities and aggression” and asked Congress for a $33 billion extension.

The United States is “not attacking” Russia, but “helping Ukraine to defend itself” and has already supplied 10 anti-tank weapons for every Russian tank, the US President assured.

Over 8,000 suspected war crimes

Arriving in Ukraine on Thursday, where he is going for the first time since the conflict began, Mr Guterres spoke to Mr Zelensky and expressed regret for the Security Council’s failure to prevent and end the war that Moscow started on February 24 .

Photo GENYA SAVILOV, Agence France-Presse

Bodies of victims are crammed onto stretchers in Boutcha.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and the United Nations Charter,” he said again.

“Ten soldiers of the 64and Russian 35th Motorized Rifle Brigadeand Russian army has been charged with alleged war crimes in Boutcha, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Telegram the same day.

Ukrainian investigators have also identified “more than 8,000 cases” of alleged war crimes since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Iryna Venediktova said in an interview with the German media Deutsche Welle.

On April 2, AFP journalists in Boutcha discovered a street littered with bodies, those of men dressed as civilians.

And the United Nations claimed to have documented the “murder, including some by summary execution,” of 50 civilians following an April 9 operation in that city.

These charges are the first since these macabre discoveries.

The prosecutor stated that the ten men would be the subject of an investigation with a view to arresting them and bringing them to justice.

At the beginning of April, Russia denied any responsibility and spoke of “staged” bodies.

Hours earlier, during a trip to Boutcha and other Kyiv suburbs, where Ukrainians have blamed violence on Russian forces, Antonio Guterres called on Moscow to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes.

“When we see this horrific site, I see the importance of conducting a full investigation and being accountable,” Mr Guterres said. “I urge Russia to agree to cooperate with the International Criminal Court,” he added.

In a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow the previous day, he asked Moscow to work with the UN to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the bombed areas.

For its part, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Thursday called for the establishment of an “ad hoc International Criminal Court (ICC)” to try “the perpetrators of the crime of aggression against Ukraine”.


View of the Mariupol steelworks besieged by Russian troops.

“Apocalypse” in Mariupol

At the same time, the United Nations Coordinator in Ukraine announced that she would head to the south of that country to prepare an attempt to evacuate the besieged and devastated port city of Mariupol, which is almost completely controlled by Russian forces.

The UN is doing “everything possible” to evacuate the “apocalypse” civilians in that city, Mr Guterres assured Thursday, saying it is “a crisis within a crisis,” adding that “thousands of civilians in need are vital help”.

According to an analysis by the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT), 75% of the structures of the huge Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters are entrenched, were damaged.

The southern and eastern regions, which are now the focus of Russian attacks, were also heavily bombed during his visit.

“The enemy is stepping up their offensive. The occupiers are conducting strikes practically in all directions,” the Ukrainian General Staff said, with particularly intense activity in the Kharkiv regions and Donbass. According to him, the Russian army is trying to prevent the transfer of Ukrainian forces from the north to the east.

For its part, the Russian army claimed to have destroyed two arms and ammunition depots in the Kharkiv region with “high-precision missiles” during the night and to have carried out airstrikes on 67 Ukrainian military sites.

In Kherson, the only major city the Russians have fully controlled since they began invading Ukraine on February 24, the local Russian government said on Thursday that it intends to reopen from May 1ah can.

It was “an act of annexation and a serious violation by Russia” of the UN Charter, criticized Lioudmyla Denissova, the person responsible for human rights in the Ukrainian parliament.

In the south, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not been able to gain access to the Russian-controlled Zaporijjia nuclear power plant since the invasion. IAEA Director Rafael Grossi, who has returned from Ukraine, said he was “concerned”.

Also on Thursday, the commander of Ukraine’s air force estimated that the rocket launchers provided by the West would not have enough range to “reach the occupier’s planes that are dropping bombs on our cities at eight kilometers and more”.

“We need medium and long-range anti-aircraft systems” and “modern fighters,” said Mykola Olechchuk.

For their part, German MPs voted by a large majority in favor of a motion calling on their hitherto reluctant government to speed up deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, meanwhile, has hinted that Kyiv could attack military targets in Russia.

“Ukraine will defend itself by any means, including attacks on Russian assassin camps and bases. The world recognizes this right,” Mykhaïlo Podoliak wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated during a phone call with Mr Putin on Thursday that he was ready to “take the initiative” to end the war, according to Ankara. Turkey twice hosted direct negotiations between the two parties in March, and Moscow and Washington held prisoner swaps on its soil on Wednesday.

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