KYIV (Reuters): Missile fragments crashed into the grounds of a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Friday and explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital as air defences responded to a morning Russian air strike.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said no one was hurt at the hospital. Missile debris also damaged the roof of a house and fell on a complex of country homes in the capital’s northern Obolon district, he said.
“We should thank our air defence forces for shooting down the missiles,” Mykhailo Shamanov, a city official, said on television shortly after the strike.
Explosions were also reported in the western region of Khmelnytskyi where officials said air defences were at work. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the area.
Authorities issued a nationwide air alert before the attack, and social media monitors reported that several Russian warplanes that carry long-range missiles had taken off from Russian air bases.
The air force reported that Russia had launched hypersonic Kinzhal missiles at Kyiv region, while city officials confirmed that the capital’s air defences were at work.
Witnesses in the city centre said they heard two loud explosions, but could not tell where they were coming from.
“Explosions in the city. Stay in shelters!” Klitschko wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
The West has supplied sophisticated air defence systems to Ukraine to help defend itself from regular waves of Russian missile and drone strikes.
Those air defences have allowed Kyiv to fend off the full brunt of Russia’s air strikes in recent months, but other areas of Ukraine, a country double the size of Italy, are more thinly protected.
Russia has struck Ukrainian cities far from the front lines throughout its war, often hitting civilian targets. Moscow denies intentionally targeting civilians.