Ukrainian journalist killed in missile strike on Kyiv apartment building

WATCH: A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist was killed after a Russian strike targeted Kyiv on April 28. Radio Liberty said journalist and producer Vira Hyrych was found dead the morning after the attack, which struck her home.

The body of Ukrainian journalist Vira Hyrych was pulled out of the wreckage of an apartment building in Kyiv on Friday, a day after two Russian missiles struck the city.

Wary Kyiv residents gathered on April 29 at the scene of the missile strike in the Shevchenkivskyi district, where the first two floors of a newly opened 25-storey apartment building were largely destroyed.

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Two powerful explosions rocked central Kyiv at about 8 p.m. local time on Thursday, shortly after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the city.

Zelenskyy said five missiles had been launched at Kyiv and three were intercepted.

”Missile

”One

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said four people were taken to hospital on Thursday night and rescuers had pulled a body out of the rubble on Friday morning.

Klitschko said there were few residents in the building at the time as it had only just opened.

Hyrych's employer, Radio Freedom, confirmed her death on Friday in a statement. They said she had worked for the company for four years as a producer and she worked on "leading Ukrainian TV channels" prior to that.

Vira Hyrych was killed when her apartment was struck by a Russian missile in Kyiv.” credit=”Ashleigh Stewart/Global News”]

“The editorial board of Radio Svoboda expresses its condolences to the family of Vira Hyrych and will remember her as a bright and kind person, a true professional,” the statement said.

The attack came shortly after Zelenskyy and Guterres held a press conference in which Guterres condemned the atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in towns such as Bucha, which he toured during the day.

Damage Kyiv

Damage from a powerful blast in Kyiv on Thursday evening as seen on April 29.

Ashleigh Stewart/Global News

During his visit, Guterres urged Russia “to accept to cooperate” with ongoing investigations into war crimes by the International Criminal Court (IRCC).

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was also in Kyiv for a meeting with Zelenskyy on Thursday.

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said the city was struck with Russian cruise missiles and called it a “heinous act of barbarism.”

On Friday morning, residents of the Shevchenkivskyi district arrived at the apartment building to assess the damage.

Emergency services were picking through the wreckage and removing rubble. The windows of buildings in the immediate vicinity were blown out, as well as some buildings hundreds of metres down the street.

Some residents watched on in horror, while others wept.

Kyiv missile strike

Windows were blown out in the area around the strike in Kyiv on Friday due to the power of the ensuing blast that happened on Thursday.

Ashleigh Stewart/Global News

For many, Kyiv had been something of a safe haven when Russian troops retreated from the area on March 31 after largely being stalled in their advance on the capital in the surrounding districts of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel.

Until now, Kyiv had also largely escaped the shelling that has been inflicted on the rest of Ukraine.

“I’m just shaking,” Lyudmula Dekalo said through tears, as she stared up at the destroyed apartment building, located just around the corner from where she lives.

Lyudmula Dekalo

Lyudmula Dekalo said she refused to leave her hometown and would collect Molotov cocktails to defend her city.

Global News

Dekalo said her apartment, where she lives alone, shook when the missiles made landfall. She said she reacted by trying to hold up her walls with her hands.

She said she did not sleep at all because she was worried about the fate of the people inside the building that was hit.

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Dekalo said she left Kyiv in the early weeks of the war, first to Irpin and then to a town near Lviv when fighting in Irpin intensified, and only returned after the Russians retreated.

“We knew of course about the air sirens but there are air sirens all around Ukraine. It doesn’t matter where we are, it’s horrible and scary for people’s lives,” she said.

However, she will not leave again.

“I will collect Molotov cocktails, just in case. And we will remove these bandits from our country and we will remember everyone,” she said.

Olena was in her apartment in the building next door, on the ninth floor, with her husband when the missile strikes took place. She said she heard a huge explosion and saw a lot of dust, and one of her windows blew out.

She said there were no air raid sirens at the time of the attack, so she did not understand what was happening. Olena added she believes she was “lucky” to escape unharmed.

Pavlo Kosetskiy was with his daughter in their kitchen in the building next-door when the explosions took place.

“I first saw the flash and then heard the sound. The windows in our kitchen were destroyed,” he said.

“My daughter started screaming and my two other daughters ran out of the other room. They started shouting. We hid in the corridor. After that, we heard another explosion when we were already hidden in the corridor.”

Kosetskiy had returned to Kyiv just a few days ago after earlier evacuating, because he thought “the situation is calm.”

He said his two oldest daughters understood what was happening in the war, but his youngest daughter “just thinks it’s thunder.”

“We are very angry that our country is under attack from Russia and I agree to fight against this country for the sake of my daughters,” he said.

Tatiana Mazur

Tatiana Mazur said she heard 'two rockets whistling over our heads' while she was out walking her dog.

Ashleigh Stewart/Global News

Tatiana Mazur was out walking her dog with her husband nearby when she heard the incoming missiles.

“We heard two rockets whistling over our heads, then we heard a lot of noise and saw a big cloud, like a fire,” she said.

Mazur, a doctor, said she stayed in Kyiv during the war because she and her husband are doctors and “want to help.” She said she did not want to become a refugee and wanted to put her skills to use here.

She said she feels safe “from time to time,” but it is not safe anywhere in Ukraine and she understands the risk of staying.

“We get used to it but still it’s very scary when it’s coming near our house, near you,” she said.

However, she had been buoyed by the resilience of her people.

“ believe in themselves, it’s very important. If we stop supporting each other we will stop being Ukrainians.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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