Kiev, in the devastated buildings: the strategy of terror on the capital of Ukraine

Of Lorenzo Cremonesi

A nine-storey building was hit: 2 dead and 9 wounded: “500 people lived here, almost all of them fled.” Also hits on the former Soviet Antonov factory

from our correspondent

KIEV – tell this long day of siege and mobilization in the Ukrainian capital we start from the large Antonov aircraft factory in the western districts. It is here, in fact, that yesterday morning the Russian missiles struck just before five, killing two people, among the warehouses erected when the country was still a Soviet province to build the largest freighters in the world. The whole area is off limits, le factory guards they brutally push away the journalists, it is forbidden to take photographs, around you can see small garrisons of armed volunteers of the civil defense. No signs of damage or fire are visible from the outside. But civilians living nearby confirm that the explosions were at least two and very strong. “My villa is located about fifty meters from the Antonov compound. The rumble was deafening, our windows on the first floor shattered and the ground vibrated like an earthquake. Now I have decided to remove a wife and children who are afraid of going to bed. I will be the only one to guard the house, “says Dimitri, who is fifty years old and was a real estate agent until 24 February..

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The condominium

MoOn the other hand, the consequences of the massive explosion which, more or less concomitantly with those in Antonov, hit a massive nine-storey building in the Obolon district, in the northern areas of the capital, which are very close to the Russian front lines, are more visible and dramatic. . Going on the spot it is immediately evident that there is no military target in the vicinity, the victims are civilians: two dead and nine wounded, according to the ambulance attendants who stop in the parking lot. The whole front part of the building is devastated by splinters, not even a window appears intact, at least half of the 144 apartments are now uninhabitable. “The victims they are few for the simple fact that most of the inhabitants are displaced. At least 500 people live here in normal times, if there had been it would have been a massacre. I myself had sent my wife and son to a bunker under the downtown Orthodox church. Our landing neighbors are now camping out in the subway stations. These houses are from the Soviet period, they were built for savings, with narrow stairwells and cellars not safe against bombs. Nobody organized them into bunkers. Besides, we all know very well that we are in the line of fire. Here ahead, about ten kilometers further north, Putin’s artillery, missiles and mortars are positioned. When the big bombing starts, it will be good not to be around here, ”explains 55-year-old Constantine Yurchyk, who works as a guard at the nearby school, but his home is on the fifth floor of the devastated building. The few inhabitants left in the neighborhood yesterday in the middle of the morning went to see the site of the explosion. The parks near the soccer field were lined with debris. But the speeches of 69-year-old Vira and 79-year-old Katerina remained more firm than ever. “Our army is strong. The soldiers are capable of stopping the Russians. But you friends of NATO should help us to control the skies of our country. We want peace, but it must be a dignified peace », they told us.

The hypothesis

Among the colleagues of the foreign press there is someone who puts forward the hypothesis that the building was hit by the wreckage of a Russian missile shot down by Ukrainian ground-to-air rockets. The doubt remains. But for a soldier of the local defense, the Russian logic is very simple: «They are adjusting the shots of the artillery in view of the great assault. It will be terrible, they will strike at random, they will not make a difference between children, women, the elderly or soldiers. And in any case they aim to terrorize civilians, they already do so in Mariupol, Kharkiv and wherever they encounter urban areas, I don’t see why it shouldn’t happen in Kiev ».

The explosion

The narrative of the missile hit in the air and crashed into civilian areas is instead evident for the third episode of war in the Kiev urban circle yesterday. Around 11 in the morning, local social networks warn of a large explosion in the Kurenivka district, in the northwestern suburbs, not far from the high national radio-television tower that was hit about ten days ago. “I was going shopping in the supermarket when an incandescent wreck hit the trolleybus from the sky,” explains Svetlana Hudain, a 53-year-old beautician. Also in this case a major massacre is averted simply by the fact that the city is half empty and most of the remaining ones prefer to stay at home or in shelters. “I hope and pray every night that someone will kill Putin, it would be the fastest way to end this absurd war,” she adds.

The continuous sirens

During the day our movements were accompanied by the roar of the battle that continues to expand from the north towards the western and eastern suburbs. At times the shots of the cannon fire were interspersed with the intense and nervous ones of the shots of Grad rockets. sirens rang at least five times. The Pentagon warns that, despite the obvious successes of the Ukrainians, Putin still owns 90 percent of the troops and assets that entered Ukraine since February 24.

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