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Russia bombs Kyiv in a weekend missile barrage across Ukraine

Firefighters work at the scene of a residential building following explosions in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 26, 2022.
Nariman El-Mofty
Firefighters work at the scene of a residential building following explosions in Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 26, 2022.

Updated June 26, 2022 at 9:54 AM ET

KYIV, Ukraine — A Russian missile slammed into the top floor of a 9-story apartment building in Ukraine's capital Kyiv early Sunday morning, killing one person and injuring several more, according to Ukrainian officials.

The attack in Kyiv was just one of dozens of long-range Russian strikes over the weekend that targeted places in northern and western Ukraine that are not often hit. Some Russian attacks were aimed at military facilities.

But others, like the one in Kyiv, hit civilian areas and had no apparent military objective.

Ukraine says the strikes are a message to the G-7

The Russian barrage came as President Biden and other leaders of the Group of Seven nations were meeting in Germany. Biden said the G-7 nations would ban imports of Russian gold in the latest move designed to squeeze Russia's economy.

Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, said Russia's airstrikes were a direct message to the leaders at the summit.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba posted a tweet saying the "G7 summit must respond with more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine."

Ukraine said it has just started using a long-range U.S. rocket system, known as HIMARS, that allows Ukraine to fire on Russian targets at distances of 40 miles or more, much further than with previous systems.

A 7-year-old girl was rescued in the Kyiv strikes

In Kyiv, the Russians hit the top of a residential building in the center of the city just after 6 a.m. local time, rattling the capital and sending a plume of smoke into the sky.

The top three floors were badly damaged. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said some residents were trapped in the rubble and had to be rescued, including a 7-year-old girl. Her father was killed, Ukrainian officials said.

In a separate attack, two Russian missiles hit near the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy, killing one person and wounding several more, Ukrainian officials said.

Russian troops retreated from the outskirts of Kyiv at the end of March, and attacks on the capital have been rare since then. Before Sunday, the last one was June 5, when several Russian missiles struck a railway compound that repairs train cars.

Most of the recent fighting in Ukraine has been in the country's east, where Russian troops are trying to take over all of the Donbas region.

Ukrainian forces now hold only a few remaining cities and towns in the area. There is also daily fighting in the south, though Russia has not been attempting to make any major advances in this region, and the fighting is at a lower level.

However, Russia unleashed more than 40 long-range airstrikes over the weekend. The Russians fired from neighboring Belarus, north of Ukraine, and hit targets in northern and western Ukraine.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.