Russia fires missiles on Ukraine’s Kyiv during visit by African leaders on peace mission

Russia on Friday launched cruise missiles on Kyiv as a delegation of African leaders visited the Ukrainian capital on a peace mission to help end the war, according to news reports. 


Photo:PAP/CTK/Vladimir Prycek

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said an explosion had occurred in the city’s Podilskyi district, and warned that more Russian missiles were incoming, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported.

Klitschko said on the Telegram social messaging app: “Explosion in the capital. In the Podilskyi district. There are still missiles flying at Kyiv.”

Meanwhile, residents also heard the sounds of the city’s air defence systems in action, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

At least one more blast rocked Kyiv during the attack, the Reuters news agency reported.

An air alert was sounded across much of Ukraine after the country’s air force reported that Russia had fired Kalibr cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea, news outlets reported.

At around 11:20 a.m. CET, the all-clear was sounded in Kyiv, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

Ukraine’s air force said it had repelled “six out of six dagger Kindzhal missiles, six out of six Kalibr cruise missiles and two reconnaissance drones” during the air alert, according to Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne. 

The city of Kyiv sustained no damage or injuries in the missile assault, Suspilne reported.

Meanwhile, falling debris injured two civilians and damaged several residential buildings and a shop in one of the settlements in the Kyiv region, The Kyiv Independent website reported.

African leaders visit Ukraine on a peace mission for talks with Zelensky 

Russia’s latest air attack came shortly after a delegation of African leaders, led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, arrived in Kyiv on a peace mission to help find a resolution to the war in Ukraine, The Kyiv Independent reported.  

The delegation included Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mustafa Madbuly and the leaders of the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and the Comoros, according to news outlets. 

The African leaders began their visit with a trip to the site of mass graves discovered in the town Bucha near Kyiv, which was temporarily occupied by Russian forces as part of their aborted assault on Ukraine’s capital in the early phase of the invasion, The Guardian reported.

Later in the day, the African delegation was set to unveil its peace initiative in a meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, officials said.

On Saturday, the African leaders are expected to travel to St. Petersburg in Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, The Kyiv Independent reported.

African peace mission expected to propose ‘confidence building measures’

The African peace mission could propose a series of „confidence building measures” during initial efforts at mediation between Ukraine and Russia, as set out in a preliminary document seen by Reuters.

According to the document, the African mission aims „to promote the importance of peace and to encourage the parties to agree to a diplomacy-led process of negotiations.”

It said the “confidence building measures” could include a Russian troop pull-back; removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus; suspension of implementation of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant targeting Putin; and sanctions relief, according to Reuters.

A cessation of hostilities agreement could follow and would need to be accompanied by negotiations between Russia and the West, the African plan also stated, Reuters reported.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said after the Russian missile strike: “The Russian missile attack took place just when the leaders of African countries arrived in the capital.”

Yermak added, as quoted by The Guardian: “Putin wants to demonstrate that he is willing to disregard the safety of foreign leaders, he actually doesn’t care because he feels complete impunity.”

Ukraine reclaims 100 sq km of land in counteroffensive against Russia: officials 

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continued their counteroffensive against the Russian invasion, news outlets reported.

According to a senior Ukrainian military commander, Brig. Gen. Oleksii Hromov, Kyiv’s troops have so far reclaimed more than 100 sq km of territory in its counterattacking push. 

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said there was a “gradual but steady advance” but that Russian forces were putting up “powerful resistance” on the southern front, The Guardian reported on Friday.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.


Source: PAPUkrainska PravdaThe GuardianThe Kyiv Independent, Reuters

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