Furious Volodymr Zelensky has ordered air raid shelters to be kept open “around the clock”, after Russia launched another brutal missile strike on Ukraine’s capital.
In a hard-hitting message, President Zelensky told local authorities it was their duty to give people 24-hour access to underground refuges. And he said this week’s deaths of two residents who found their Kyiv shelter locked must never happen again.
Ukrainian forces said they shot down more than 30 missiles and drones during yesterday’s overnight raid – the Kremlin’s 20th attack on Kyiv in just over a month.
Three rockets were thought to have got through. Two people, including a child, were injured by falling debris and five homes damaged, before air raid alerts could be lifted across most of the country.
Mr Zelensky told his region chiefs yesterday: “First of all, my condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives were taken by Russia.
“We are doing our best to protect people. There was no such international meeting, no such international negotiations where the issue of air defence for Ukraine was not raised.
“But protecting people means protecting them at all levels. Shelters must be accessible. The situation like in Kyiv, when people came to the shelter and the shelter was closed, should never happen again.
“It is the duty of local authorities, a very specific duty, to ensure that shelters are available and accessible around the clock.
“It is painful to see the negligence of this duty. It is painful to see casualties.
“And if the duty is not fulfilled on the ground, it is the direct responsibility of law enforcement bodies to bring to justice.”
Ukraine’s military said Vladimir Putin’s forces launched 15 missiles and 18 drones on the capital overnight. The city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, who earlier reported two waves of attacks, said on the Telegram messaging service there had been no calls for rescue services.
Meanwhile, Ukraine stepped up its own drone attacks on Russian targets in the south-eastern port city of Berdiansk and in the Belgorod border area.
Film footage showed a missile strike by a suspected UK-supplied Storm Shadow in Berdiansk, on the Sea of Azov. A huge plume of smoke could be seen rising in the port area, in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region.