Ukraine’s capital has been attacked for the first time in three weeks by Russian missile strikes – as G7 leaders gathered in Germany with the invasion high on the agenda.
A nine-storey apartment block was struck along with the compound of a kindergarten as officials said one person was killed and five others injured in the attacks.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people were taken to hospital and a seven-year-old girl was pulled alive from the rubble.
He claimed the airstrikes may have been a “symbolic attack” by Moscow ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.
Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s administration, said: “The Russians hit Kyiv again. Missiles damaged an apartment building and a kindergarten.”
The attack left the smouldering residential block with a crater in its roof as firefighters put out a blaze, and debris was strewn over parked cars outside in the central Shevchenkivskiy district.
At another site 400 metres away, there was a large blast crater by a playground in a private kindergarten with smashed windows. Storage garages in the area were completely destroyed.
Referring to the Russian strikes, US President Joe Biden said “it’s more of their barbarism”, as he and fellow leaders from seven of the world’s advanced economies attended a summit on Sunday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the West needed to maintain a united front against Russian President Vladimir
“The price of backing down, the price of allowing Putin to succeed, to hack off huge parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest, that price will be far, far higher,” he told reporters.
Up to four explosions were heard in the centre of Kyiv. Two more were reported in the southern outskirts of the city but there was no immediate sign of damage, suggesting missiles could have been shot down by Ukraine’s air defences.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko wrote on the Telegram messaging app that “according to prelim data, 14 missiles were launched against Kyiv region and Kyiv”.
The last time the capital was hit by Russian airstrikes was 5 June.
Explosions have also been heard in the central city of Cherkasy, regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said on Telegram. He did not give further details.
Cherkasy has been largely untouched by bombardment since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Meanwhile, Russian forces have been seeking to take the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region.
They have already claimed full control of Severodonetsk and the chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had been holed up.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region that includes Severodonetsk, said Russia was carrying out intense airstrikes on the neighbouring city of Lysychansk, destroying its television tower and seriously damaging a road bridge.
“There’s very much destruction – Lysychansk is almost unrecognisable,” he wrote on Facebook.