Russian missiles have hit an apartment building and a kindergarten in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, in attacks that US President Joe Biden denounced as “barbarity” as world leaders gathered in Europe to discuss further sanctions against Moscow.
Up to four explosions shook central Kyiv in the early hours of Sunday morning, the first such attack on the city in weeks.
Later in the day, a Reuters reporter said two more explosions were heard on the city’s southern edge.
“The Russians have hit Kyiv again. Missiles have damaged an apartment building and a kindergarten,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s government.
A Reuters photographer saw a large explosion crater near a private kindergarten playground with smashed windows.
Ukrainian police chief Ihor Klymenko said on national television that five people had been injured, and police later said one person had been killed.
“It’s more of their barbarity,” Mr. Biden said, referring to the rocket attacks as leaders of the Group of Seven Rich Democracies gathered for a summit in Germany.
As Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War II entered its fifth month, the Western alliance backing Kyiv began showing signs of tension as leaders worried about rising economic costs, including food and energy.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the West must maintain a united front against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The price of withdrawing, the price of making Putin succeed, of cutting off large parts of Ukraine, of continuing his program of conquest, that price will be much, much higher,” he told reporters.
Life in Kyiv had returned to normal after fierce opposition halted the Russian advance in the early stages of the war, although air-raid sirens regularly blared over the city.
There had been no major strikes in Kyiv since the beginning of June.
The city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said on the Telegram messaging app that Sunday’s strike had partially destroyed a nine-story apartment building in central Kyiv’s historic Shevchenkivskiy district and started a fire.
“There are people under the rubble,” Klitschko said. “They took out a seven-year-old girl. She’s alive. Now they are trying to save her mother.”
A Ukrainian Air Force spokesman said the attack was carried out with four to six long-range missiles fired by Russian bombers more than 1,000 kilometers away in the southern Russian region of Astrakhan.
He said some of the incoming missiles were shot down.
The Russian defense ministry said it had used precision weapons to attack Ukrainian army training centers in Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, and Lviv regions, clearly referencing strikes reported by Ukraine on Saturday.
There was no immediate comment on Sunday’s strikes in Kyiv.
Explosions were also heard on Sunday in the central city of Cherkasy, which has remained largely untouched by bombing, regional governor Oleksandr Skichko said on Telegram.
Russia denies targeting civilians, but Ukraine and the West accuse Russia’s armed forces of war crimes in a war that has left thousands dead, millions fled Ukraine, and destroyed cities.
Sievierodonetsk’s strategic eastern battlefield city fell to pro-Russian forces on Saturday after Ukrainian forces withdrew, saying nothing was left to defend the devastated city after months of fierce fighting.
The fall of Sievierodonetsk is a major defeat for Kyiv as it seeks to retain control of the eastern Donbas region, a key military target for the Kremlin.
Moscow says the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces in Donbas, where it has supported uprisings since 2014, are independent countries. It demands that Ukraine cede the entire territory of the two areas to separatist administrations.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin called a “special military operation” needed to rid the country of dangerous nationalists and ensure Russian security. Kyiv and the West dismiss that as a pretext for land grabs.
The war greatly impacted the global economy and European security, pushed up gas, oil, and food prices, prompted the European Union to reduce dependence on Russian energy, and prompted Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership.
The United Nations has warned that a prolonged war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, threatens to spark a global hunger crisis.
The G7 nations announced an import ban on new gold from Russia as they began their summit in the Bavarian Alps to further tighten Russia.