War in Ukraine, three European premieres in besieged Kiev: missiles on civilians

Of Lorenzo Cremonesi

New bombings on factories and condominiums, no one is under the illusion that the war will stop in the suburbs. There are now 3 million refugees, curfew in the capital

from our correspondent
KIEV – By now no one is under the illusion that the war will stop at the peripheries. The roar of battle is continuous, menacingthe shots of the artillery are interspersed with the nervous series of the launches of Grad missiles: they are clearly audible even in the most central districts. For the second day in a row, Russian bombs hit within the urban circle of the Ukrainian capital and yesterday the explosions came just a twenty minute walk from Maidan square. A few minutes before five in the morning we heard four violent explosions that shook the windows of the buildings around the foreign ministry, major churches and places that encapsulate the history and identity of the Ukrainian nation itself.

As early as eight o’clock the local media explained that Putin’s sights had been the building of a well-known ammunition factory in the city center and a large apartment building in the northern neighborhoods, not far from the very similar one built in Soviet times that was hit two days ago. Once again, the casualties are relatively limitedwe are talking about four or five dead and about ten injured, and this is due to the fact that at least half of the four million inhabitants of Kiev are displaced and those who remain generally prefer to spend the night in shelters, or in any case in protected areas.

The latest news on the war in Ukraine

The curfew

To confirm the gravity of the moment is added the choice of the mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, together with Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky and the military leaders to impose a “Total curfew” on the entire city for 36 hours from last night at 8pm until tomorrow morning. A similar measure was taken in the very early hours of the war, on February 24, when Putin’s airborne special troops attempted to capture the capital from Hostomel airport immediately and the Ukrainians had defeated the units of saboteurs and the cells of pro-Russian fighters who had gone into action among the houses of Kiev. Having foiled the initial blitz, the battle was concentrated on trying to slow down the Russian army corps descending from the north. But now the very dangerous approach of the Russian avant-garde to Kiev, together with the choice to bomb the city, raises the need for Ukrainians to “clean up” suspicious streets and buildings. There can be no enemy cells in the rear. Barricades, Friesian horses, anti-tank missile positions and snipers, trenches and Molotov cocktails are now ready.

Visit

The determination a fight without hesitation against the invasion remains strong and widespread. And yesterday the Ukrainians were heartened by the extremely courageous choice of the Polish premier, Mateusz Morawiecki – together with the leader of the Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynsky -, the Czech one, Petr Fiala, and the Slovenian, Janez Jansa, of take the train to come and bring their solidarity to the besieged capital. A move that makes Zelensky feel a little less alone and perhaps also helps him to seek a compromise in extremis with Putin. His statement in the last few hours that Ukraine does not intend to ask to be accepted into NATO is perceived in the Western chancelleries as an important step to relaunch the negotiation path.

The bombings

The visit to the new places hit by the bombs helps to grasp the pulse of the moods among the population. Around the massive building of the Artem military factory, known for its surface-to-air missiles, the windows of the buildings are all broken. The Russian shooting hit the roof over the main entrance, while inside you can glimpse devastated offices, charred documents, destroyed computers. The blast has thrown the debris onto the streets, the shopkeepers of the shopping center opposite are taking away the merchandise from the shelves hit by the shards of the windows. “There are gangs of looters. We have to defend ourselves », says an orderly. The displacement of air was felt even a hundred meters underground, where about eighty civilians spent the night in the subway station. “We have been here for at least twenty days. We go down at seven in the evening and return to the surface in the morning. It’s cold down here, it’s humid, but at least we feel safe. The municipality guarantees the connection to the network, so there are many who work on the computer ”, say Eric and Artemii, two thirty-year-olds seated at the cell phone recharging column. A group of seniors waits for a volunteer to broadcast a new film on the television screen hanging on the white-tiled wall.

The toilet is located along the dark tunnel of the tracks. It’s hotter here, they come to smoke. “We are capable of winning against the Russians. We are superior in quality and motivation of the troops. But it will take a long time. I know Russian soldiers well. As a young man I did military service with them in Kazakhstan and I know that they are not motivated, they do not have inventiveness in combat, they just obey orders, ”explains 64-year-old Stephane. When we get to the burning apartment building in the Sviatoshyno district, the firefighters are fighting with fire. The park around it is littered with charred debris. 49-year-old Svetlana manages the shelter set up in the cellars of the neighboring apartment building. Shows the drinking water supplies, food packages. «We resist and we will resist – she says in the darkness of the corridor -. But you Europeans must understand that we are the first line of your front. If we fall, it will soon be your turn. “


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