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in the center of kyiv, Russian missiles as revenge

In Kyiv, the attack caught thousands of residents off guard who had grown accustomed to the deceptive calm and the conditions of daily life in wartime. Valya was finishing Monday morning cleaning the imposing classrooms of the main building of the Shevchenko University, built under the Russian Empire and painted a blood-red color.

She didn’t pay much attention to the airborne alert sounded an hour before, until she heard a whistle like a fighter plane flying low, followed by an explosion, then another, deafening one. A Russian missile hit an intersection right next to one of the university’s departments. “So we realized it wasn’t a joke and we all ran for cover, she says under the low vaults of the university shelter, also from the tsarist era. We understood that was the answer. »

For the first time, the center of kyiv affected

The answer ? Two days earlier, the bridge built by Moscow to connect the Crimean peninsula annexed in 2014 to mainland Russia – and inaugurated with great fanfare by Vladimir Putin – was hit by a violent explosion. This being attributed by Moscow to the Ukrainian forces, at least 75 missiles hit, on Monday morning, the major cities of Ukraine from Kharkiv, in the east of the country, to Lviv, on the Polish border. This rain of missiles echoes the beginning of the war, on February 24, when a series of strikes fell on the main localities of the country, paralyzing both the government and Ukrainian society.

In kyiv, Moscow this time went a step further by hitting the city center for the very first time since the start of the war, prompting dumbfounded residents to rush to metro stations. At least two missiles fell on and right next to the pleasant Shevchenko Park, directly opposite the university of the same name, in the heart of the city. A stone’s throw from Independence Square, another missile directly hit a pedestrian bridge, the mayor of kyiv’s flagship project inaugurated with pomp three years ago.

Leaving Kyiv, again…

With these Russian strikes, the war, which in recent months had been a little distant, has suddenly returned to the daily life of the inhabitants of the capital. “People had relaxed a bit, and were even wondering why certain restrictions and the curfew remained in force”, notes Andriy Hojik, rector of the university in suit and jacket, also now taking refuge in the dark basement of Shevchenko University.

Two thick iron doors away, in another shelter, Lesya’s husband, 38, pulls out a sketchbook for his 12-year-old daughter. Lesya and her daughter fled kyiv on February 24 and spent two months in France before returning to Ukraine. “I don’t know why we didn’t stay in the subway this morningLesya whispers, on the verge of tears, holding her daughter’s hand. A mistake, a huge mistake…” After Monday morning’s strike, she plans to leave Kyiv again.

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