RUSSIA,UKRAINE, UN,UK: Russia pounded targets from practically one end of Ukraine to the other Thursday, including Kyiv, bombarding the city while United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was visiting in the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago.
At least one person was killed and several were injured in the attack on Kyiv, including some who were trapped in the rubble when two buildings were hit, rescue officials said.
The bombardment came barely an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a news conference with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who said Ukraine has become “an epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain.” A spokesperson said Guterres and his team were safe.
It was not immediately clear how far away the attack was from Guterres. “I was shocked to be informed that two rockets have exploded in the city where I am,” the U.N. chief was quoted as telling the BBC. “So this is a dramatic war, and we absolutely need to end this war and we absolutely need to have a solution for this war.”
Meanwhile, Blackened by smoke and dripping with sweat, firefighters in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv are totally exhausted after two months of chasing blazes sparked by the constant explosion of Russian rockets.
Since Russia invaded on February 24, there have been more than 1,000 fires in the eastern Kharkiv region which borders Russia, the area’s emergency services spokesman Yevgen Vasylenko said.
In the city alone, over 2,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed by fire and more than 140 civilians have died beneath the wreckage, he said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council failed to go far enough in its efforts to “prevent and end” Russia’s war in Ukraine, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted Thursday while visiting Kyiv.
“Let me be very clear: the Security Council failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war. And this is the source of great disappointment, frustration and anger,” he said at a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Meanwhile, A Russian official said Thursday that the ruble will soon be introduced in areas of Ukraine under Moscow’s control, despite Russia earlier insisting it was not seeking to occupy captured territory.
A civilian and military administrator of the Russian-controlled region of Kherson in southern Ukraine said Moscow would introduce its currency in the region within the coming days.
“Beginning May 1, we will move to the ruble zone,” the official, Kirill Stremousov, was cited as saying by Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
He specified there will be a grace period of four months when Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, would also be used.
“Then we will completely switch to settlements in rubles,” RIA Novosti quoted Stremousov as saying.
Russia said earlier this week that it had seized control of the entire southern Kherson region, including its eponymous administrative capital, which fell to Russian troops soon after the February 24 invasion.
Meanwhile, United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said that the Russia-Ukraine war could last as long as 10 years. Speaking at a foreign policy event dinner on Wednesday, she warned the West, that if Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeds “there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe”. Ms Truss indicated that the war in Ukraine could be a long drawn out affair and that Europe “must be prepared for the long haul”.
– THE HINDU, INDIAN EXPRESS, NDTV