Kyiv residents shocked after heavy Russian attacks

Kyiv residents shocked after heavy Russian attacks


The rockets, which sowed death and destruction in the Ukrainian capital for the first time in nearly four months, rang out with a terrifying roar early Monday.

The blasts destroyed and shook buildings, ruptured water pipes, left craters and set cars on fire — and rocked Kiev’s nearly three million residents, including some awakened as the city began its workweek.

“I’m very shocked,” said 22-year-old Ivan Poliakov, who was sitting on a park bench and was so angry he struggled to speak.

“I arrived in Kyiv this morning. I was walking in the street… when there were the explosions,” he told AFP.

“I saw children and women cry. I love Kyiv. People are good, they are brave.

In the forested Taras Shevchenko Park in central Kyiv, a rocket ripped out a huge crater next to a children’s playground after ripping through the air above it.

A small plume of white smoke was still rising. Branches were sheared clean from trees.

Just after 8:00 a.m. Monday (0500 GMT), two rockets hit this upscale neighborhood less than a minute and 300 meters apart.

In the streets around the park, the windows of the blocks of flats have been blown out and the floor is littered with broken glass.

The explosions were so powerful that they ripped open the door of a bar-restaurant before staff began sweeping up the debris.

At one end of the park, the first blast hit an intersection near a white, three-story administration building, all windows shattered.

A missile dug a crater in the road and lifted the asphalt. Several cars parked there were twisted and blackened wrecks.

An AFP journalist saw a body completely covered with a blanket.

– “They kill civilians” –

A water main was hit, leaving a jet of water that flowed into the street leading to the city’s main thoroughfare.

Ksenia Ryazantseva and her husband live on a street next to the park, but their apartment faces a courtyard, opposite the children’s playground.

“We were sleeping and we heard the first explosion at the intersection,” Ksenia told AFP.

“We woke up and went to check, then the second explosion happened (in the park). We don’t know what happened,” added the 39-year-old language teacher.

“We saw the smoke, then the cars, and then we realized we had no windows. Luckily we live in the inner courtyard,” she said.

“There’s a university, two museums. There are no military targets or anything like that. They’re killing civilians,” she said angrily.

When asked about her thoughts after the first attack on the capital since June 26, she replied, “Well, we’re at war.”

Serguii Agapov has no doubt that the attacks are in retaliation for the explosion on the Russian bridge to Crimea.

– ‘Why?’ –

“It all started after the Crimean Bridge. Yesterday Zaporizhzhia, today Kyiv. Yes, I think these are very terrible and cruel reprisals because civilians are suffering,” he said.

They felt, he added, both “fear and a wish for this to be over soon. We don’t understand why they are doing this to us, what is the goal of all of this?”

Around the two hits from the rocket attacks, men in clothing marked “Expert” took samples from the craters.

A red and white ribbon was stretched around the compound, which was patrolled by armed police.

In Kyiv, the National Police Service said at least five people were killed and another dozen injured in the capital, which was among several cities hit on Monday.

Half a dozen explosions were heard, with strikes in several neighborhoods including the city center.

After the attacks, there were few passers-by on Krechtchatyk Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, which runs through the Maidan (Square), the traditional rallying point of Ukrainian independence.

Many shops remained closed.

It was a sharp contrast to Sunday, when large crowds filed through the area on a sunny afternoon.

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