Explosions rock Kiev, while Russians Sievierodonetsk . ‘fully occupy’

KYIV, Ukraine: Explosions hit Kiev on Sunday (June 26) morning, a day after a flurry of missiles hit targets across Ukraine and Russian forces “completely occupied” the main industrial center of Sievierodonetsk.

AFP journalists reported that a residential complex near the center of Kiev had been hit, causing a fire and a gray cloud of smoke. A colleague who lives in the complex heard a loud buzzing prior to the explosions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who will address G7 leaders on Monday, said cities as far away as Lviv, near the Polish border, were hit by a wave of attacks on Saturday.

“This confirms… that air defense systems – the modern systems that our partners have – should not be on the sites or in storage, but in Ukraine,” he said in his daily speech.

In total, around 6:30 am (0330 GMT) on Sunday, four blasts were heard in the capital, which had not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.

Although there were no direct casualties, Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said “rescue and evacuation of residents” was underway in two apartment buildings.

As the war enters its fifth month, the capture of Sievierodonetsk in the disputed Donbas region marks a major strategic victory for Moscow, which is pursuing full control of the east of the country after failing to meet its early objectives.

The Russian army had “completely occupied” the main Ukrainian city after weeks of fighting, the mayor said on Saturday.

The industrial center was the scene of weeks of fighting before the Ukrainian army began withdrawing its underprivileged troops to better defend the neighboring city of Lysychansk.

“The city is completely occupied by the Russians,” Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said on Saturday.

Hours earlier, pro-Moscow separatists said Russian troops and their allies had moved into Lysychansk, which lies opposite Sievierodonetsk, high across the Donets River. Its capture would give Russia control over the entire region of Donbas’ Lugansk.

“There are currently street fights going on,” a representative of the separatists, Andrei Marochko, said on Telegram, in a claim that could not be independently verified.

Far from Donbas, Russian missiles were meanwhile targets in northern and western Ukraine.

“More than 50 missiles of various types were fired: in the air, at sea and on the ground,” the Ukrainian Air Force Command said, pointing out that it is difficult to intercept Russian models such as the Iskander.