Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital in the early hours of Sunday, striking at least two residential buildings, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, as elsewhere Russian troops consolidated their gains in the east.
Klitschko said the missiles hit at least two residential buildings, and President Volodymr Zelenskyy said a 37-year-old man was killed and his 7-year-old daughter and wife were injured. Associated Press journalists saw emergency workers battling flames and rescuing civilians.
The strikes also damaged a nearby kindergarten, where a crater pocked the courtyard. President Joe Biden said the attacks were “barbarism” after he arrived in Germany for a Group of Seven summit.
Later Sunday, a local official reported a second death, telling the Unian news agency that a railroad worker was killed and several others were injured while servicing rail infrastructure.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the missiles, the first air-launched weapons to have successfully targeted the capital since June 5, were Kh-101 cruise missiles fired from warplanes over the Caspian Sea, more than 930 miles away.
Klitschko told journalists that he believed “it is maybe a symbolic attack” ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.
“Russia is saying: ‘We can do this all day long. You guys are powerless to stop us,’” said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe. “The Russians are humiliating the leaders of the West.”
Biden also said the U.S. and other G7 nations intend to announce a ban on imports of gold from Russia. They hope the measure will further isolate Russia economically.
Senior Biden administration officials said gold is Moscow’s second largest export after energy and that banning imports would make it more difficult for Russia to participate in global markets.
Zelenskyy, speaking in his nightly video address, appealed to the G-7 leaders for more help, saying stopping Russian aggression “is possible only if we get everything we ask for and in the time we need it — weapons, financial support and sanctions against Russia.”
A Ukrainian Parliament member, Oleksiy Goncharenko, wrote on the Telegram messaging app that preliminary information indicated that Russia launched 14 missiles toward the capital region and Kyiv itself. Zelenskyy said some were intercepted, and he vowed revenge against “all pilots, dispatchers, technicians and other people who ensure the launch of missiles in Ukraine.”
“We will find you all. Each of you will be responsible for these blows,” Zelenskyy vowed. “And if someone thinks he will evade responsibility by saying that this was an order, you are wrong. When your missiles hit homes, it’s a war crime. The court is what awaits you all. And you will not hide anywhere — neither on the shores of the Caspian Sea, over which your missiles are launched, nor in Belarus ... nowhere.”
In a phone interview, Hodges, the retired U.S. general, told The Associated Press that Russia has a limited stock of precision missiles and that “if they are using them, it’s going to be for a special purpose,”
Russia has denied targeting civilians during the four-month war, and Hodges said it was hard to know whether the missiles launched Sunday were intended to strike the apartments buildings.
Meanwhile, Russian forces have been seeking to swallow up the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Luhansk region, pressing their momentum after taking full control Saturday of the charred ruins of Sievierodonetsk and the chemical plant where hundreds of Ukrainian troops and civilians had been holed up.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, which includes Sievierodonetsk, said Sunday that Russia was conducting intense airstrikes on the adjacent city of Lysychansk, destroying its television tower and seriously damaging a road bridge.
“There’s very much destruction — Lysychansk is almost unrecognizable,” he wrote on Facebook.
His comments came after Russia also launched dozens of missiles on several areas across the country far from the heart of the eastern battles. Some of the missiles were fired from Russian long-range Tu-22 bombers deployed from Belarus for the first time, Ukraine’s air command said.
The bombardment preceded a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, during which Putin announced that Russia planned to supply Belarus with the Iskander-M missile system.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said late Saturday that Russian and Moscow-backed separatist forces now control Sievierodonetsk and the villages surrounding it. He said the attempt by Ukrainian forces to turn the Azot plant into a “stubborn center of resistance” had been thwarted.
Haidai confirmed Saturday that Sievierodonetsk had fallen to Russian and separatist fighters, who he said were now trying to blockade Lysychansk from the south.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for the separatist forces, Andrei Marochko, as saying Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered Lysychansk and that fighting was taking place in the heart of the city. There was no immediate comment on the claim from the Ukrainian side.
Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk have been the focal points of a Russian offensive to capture all of the Donbas and destroy the Ukrainian military defending it — the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the country’s armed forces.
Capturing Lysychansk would give Russian forces control of every major settlement in the province, a significant step toward Russia’s aim of capturing the entire Donbas. The Russians and separatists control about half of Donetsk, the second province in the Donbas.