Kiev, Ukraine – Ukraine’s leader accused Russia of trying to humiliate the UN byan attack that crushed the capital’s tentative return to normalcy as the focus of the war shifted eastward.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s forces held back Russia’s attempts to advance south and east, while efforts continued to ensure safe passage for residents of the central coastal city of Mariupol, which has been largely reduced to ruins in a 2-month siege. .
Hundreds of soldiers and civilians, many of them wounded, continue to resist bombings inside a steel mill in Mariupol, reports CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay.
Russia struck targets across Ukraine on Thursday, including the attack on Kiev, which hit a residential building and another building. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Friday that a body was found in the rubble of the attack. Ten people were injured, including at least one who lost a leg, according to Ukraine’s emergency services.
Moscow said they used “high-precision, long-range air-based weapons” in the attack, according to Agence France-Presse.
In an apparent reference to the same attack, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that it had destroyed “production buildings” at Artem’s defense plant in Kiev.
US-funded Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty said on Friday that one of its producers, Vera Gyrych, was killed when a Russian missile hit her house during Thursday’s attack on Kiev, reports AFP.
The most daring Russian bombing of the capital since Moscow’s forces withdrew weeks came just under an hour after Zelenskyy held a press conference with Guterres, who toured some of the destruction in and around Kiev and condemned attacks on civilians.
“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude towards global institutions, about Russian authorities’ attempts to humiliate the UN and everything the organization represents,” Zelenskyy said in an overnight video speech to the nation. “Therefore, it requires a similarly strong reaction.”
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko mocked the attack as equivalent to Russian President Vladimir Putin pointing Guterres “his middle finger”.
Meanwhile, AFP says the president of the host nation for this autumn’s G20 summit, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, said on Friday that he had invited Zelenskyy to attend, confirming earlier words from Zelenskyy in that direction. It was unclear if he wanted to. Widodo said Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed he will be there. Russia is a member of the G20. Ukraine is not.
One goal of Guterres’ visit to Kiev was to secure the evacuation of people from the ruined southern port city of Mariupol, including a crushed steelworks where Ukrainian defenders are locked up and hundreds of civilians are also seeking refuge.
It was unclear whether it had borne fruit. Previous evacuation attempts have collapsed. But Zelensky’s office said there were again plans for an evacuation of civilians from the factory on Friday, AFP reports.
Mariupol has seen some of the most dramatic suffering of the war. During the siege since the early days of the invasion, many of its inhabitants were captured with barely access to food, water, medicine or electricity.
It is estimated that 100,000 people are still in the city, and the city council warned on Thursday that lack of safe drinking water or a functioning sewer system could lead to outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera and dysentery. It added that corpses were in decay under the rubble.
Russian forces largely control the city, but about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are trapped at the steelworks, the last known resistance pocket. About 1,000 civilians are with them, and fighters said the latest concentrated bombings killed and wounded people.
Video posted online by Ukraine’s Azov regiment inside the steelworks showed people fighting through the rubble to remove the dead and help the wounded. The regiment said the Russians hit an makeshift underground hospital and its operating room, killing an unspecified number of people. The video could not be verified independently.
The governor of Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko, said two cities there were hit by Russian Grad rockets on Friday. There was no immediate information on injuries or damage. Separately, the governor of Russia’s Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said a border post came under mortar shelling from Ukraine and that Russian border forces returned fire. He said there were no casualties on the Russian side.
It happened 24 hours after reports of explosions across the country – in Polonne in the west, Chernihiv in the north near the border with Belarus and Fastiv, a major railway junction southwest of the capital. The mayor of Odesa in southern Ukraine said rockets were intercepted by air defenses.
Ukrainian authorities also reported intense Russian fire in the Donbas – the eastern industrial heartland, which the Kremlin says is its main purpose – and near Kharkiv, a northeastern city outside the Donbas that is seen as the key to the offensive.
In Kiev, explosions shook the city, and the flames spilled out of the windows of the high-rise and another building. The capital had been relatively unharmed in recent weeks, since Moscow again focused its efforts on seizing the entire Donbas.
The explosions in northwestern Kyiv’s Shevchenkivsky district came as residents increasingly returned to the city. Cafes and other businesses have reopened and an increasing number of people have been out enjoying the spring weather.
During his visit to Ukraine, Guterres investigated the devastation in small towns outside the capital, which experienced some of the worst horrors of the war’s first attacks. He condemned the atrocities committed in cities like Bucha, where evidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia withdrew in early April in the face of unexpectedly fierce resistance.
“Wherever there is war, the highest price is paid by civilians,” the UN chief lamented.
“A meeting will not end with this conflict”
On Friday, the Secretary-General’s spokeswoman, Stephane Dujarric, spoke with Mola Lenghi and Michelle Miller from Rzeszow, Poland.
Dujarric said Guterres’ meeting with Zelenskyy in Kiev lasted an hour and a half, and he told the president that the UN was stepping up humanitarian aid, and they were also discussing how to get civilians out of the Mariupol steel plant.
“We have condemned and will continue to condemn these missile attacks on what is or apparently quite clearly is civilian infrastructure,” Dujarric said.
On Guterre’s meeting with Putin earlier this week, Dujarric said: “There was an agreement in principle from the Russian Federation that the UN would work with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Russia and Ukraine” to evacuate civilians from the steelworks.
“But let’s be clear, a meeting will not end this conflict, meetings will not end this conflict. What will end this conflict is when Russia decides to end this conflict,” he said. “What we saw firsthand yesterday was the devastation, the heartbreaking devastation of just a few villages around Kiev.”
CBS News’ Pam Falk contributed to this report.