KYIV — Russian missiles struck a residential building and the compound of a kindergarten in central Kyiv on Sunday, killing one person and wounding five more, officials said, as Moscow stepped up its air strikes on Ukraine for a second day.
Firefighters put out a fire in a badly damaged nine-story residential building in the central Shevchenkivskiy district, the emergency services said. Debris was strewn over parked cars outside a smoldering building with a crater in its roof.
“They (rescuers) have pulled out a seven-year-old girl. She is alive. Now they’re trying to rescue her mother,” Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said
“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app. He added that several people had already been hospitalized.
At another site about 400 meters away, a Reuters photographer saw a large blast crater by a playground in a private kindergarten that had smashed windows. Some privately-held storage garages in the area were completely destroyed.
Russia’s defense ministry said it had used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army training centers in the regions of Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv, an apparent reference to strikes reported by Ukraine on Saturday.
There was no immediate comment about Sunday’s strikes on Kyiv. Moscow denies targeting civilians.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Group of Seven countries holding a three-day summit in Germany to impose further sanctions on Moscow and to provide more heavy weapons.
A Ukrainian air force spokesperson said between four to six long-range missiles were fired from Russian bombers more than a thousand kilometers away in the southern Russian region of Astrakhan that looks out onto the Caspian Sea.
He said some of the incoming missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
Up to four explosions shook central Kyiv early on Sunday. Hours later there were two more explosions in Kyiv, but there was no immediate sign of damage, suggesting inbound missiles could have been shot down.
Ukraine’s police chief Ihor Klymenko said on national television that five people had been wounded. Police later confirmed that one person had died.
“The Russians hit Kyiv again. Missiles damaged an apartment building and a kindergarten,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s administration.
Explosions were heard in the central city of Cherkasy too, regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said.
The last major strike on Kyiv was on June 5 when a rail car repair facility was hit on the outskirts. In late April, a Radio Liberty producer was killed in a strike that hit the building she lived in.
The Shevchenkivskiy historic district is home to a cluster of universities, restaurants and art galleries.
Russia abandoned an early advance on Kyiv in the face of fierce resistance bolstered by Western arms.
Since then Moscow and its proxies have focused on the south and Donbas, an eastern territory made up of Luhansk and its neighbor Donetsk, deploying overwhelming artillery in some of the heaviest ground fighting in Europe since World War Two. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Valentyn Ogirenko, Alessandra Prentice; Writing Lidia Kelly and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Michael Perry and David Clarke)