Russian missiles struck Kyiv while UN Secretary-General was visiting

Missiles over Ukraine's power plant could lead to nuclear accident - IAEA • Ten Russian soldiers suspected in Bucha incident

 Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on April 29, 2022. (photo credit: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on April 29, 2022.
(photo credit: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

Russian missile attacks struck Kyiv while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting the city on Thursday night, Ukrainian President Vloydymyr Zelensky said in a video message. 

Russia fired two missiles into Kyiv on Thursday during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, April 29, 2022 (credit: Reuters)

"This says a lot about Russia's true attitude to global institutions, about the Russian leadership's efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents," Zelensky said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the attacks a "heinous act of barbarism" in a tweet on Thursday, adding that Russia "demonstrates once again its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world."

Ukrainian rescue workers on Friday recovered a corpse from the rubble of a building in Kyiv that was hit by a missile, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Ukrainian officials said two Russian missiles had struck the capital.

The ongoing conflict

Ten Russian soldiers were identified as suspects in the "crimes committed against our people in Bucha,” said Zelensky, referring to images emerging earlier this month of human corpses in Bucha lying in the streets after Russian forces retreated from the area.  

“We know all the details about them and their actions. And we will find everyone. Just as we will find all the other Russian thugs who killed and tortured Ukrainians," the Ukrainian President continued.

Russian shelling attacks killed five civilians and injured 11 in the Kharkiv region, according to a report by Ukrainian news outlet Pravda, citing the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration. Russian forces have focused their efforts on maintaining their positions in the city.

According to a UK military intelligence report, the main fighting has been focused around Lysychansk and Severidibetsk in the Luhansk region, as the Ukrainian military also reported heavy shelling there as well as in Donetsk hours later. 

The report also stated that the Battle of Donbas remains Russia's main strategic focus to secure control over the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. However, due to strong Ukrainian pushback, Russian forces did not make much territorial gain and have sustained heavy losses, the ministry added. 

Russia said that its forces had destroyed the production facilities of a space-rocket plant in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv with high precision long-range missiles.

Russia used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles, the first time Moscow has announced the use of its submarine fleet to hit its former Soviet neighbor.

The Russian defense ministry released a video showing a volley of Kalibr missiles emerging from the sea and soaring off into the horizon - to what the ministry said were Ukrainian military targets.

This is the first time Russia's military has reported using submarine strikes against Ukrainian targets, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.

A border checkpoint at a village in Russia's Bryansk region bordering Ukraine came under mortar fire from Ukrainian territory, the regional governor said on Friday.

There were no casualties as a result of the shelling, Bryansk region governor Alexander Bogomaz said.

Evacuations from Azovstal plant 

Ukraine said it hopes to evacuate civilians who are holed up with Ukrainian fighters in the vast Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol. Guterres said the UN is doing “doing everything possible” to help with the evacuations and urged humanitarian corridors to be opened in Mariupol.

"An operation is planned today to get civilians out of the plant," President Volodymyr Zelensky's office said without giving details.

Hours later, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that civilians can exit the power plant, according to TASS citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The Russian leader said while people can evacuate freely, they must do so while Ukrainian forces must have laid down their weapons.

Militants must lay down their arms and exit as well. Their lives will be preserved. All injured and sick will be provided with medical aid," Peskov said. "What’s there to negotiate about in this case?"

Shelling on Ukrainian cities 

A checkpoint at a village in Russia's Kursk region bordering Ukraine was shelled on Friday, the region's governor said.

"Mortars were fired at a checkpoint in the village of Krupets," Kursk governor Roman Starovoyt said. He said Russian border guards and the military gave retaliatory fire, saying "there were no casualties or damage."

Ukrainian forces have shelled and damaged an oil depot in the city of Donetsk in the country's east which is held by Russian-backed separatists, the RIA news agency quoted a separatist official as saying on Friday.

Images posted online showed the facility on fire.

Ukrainians freed in prisoner exchange 

45 Ukrainians were freed in a prisoner exchange on Thursday, according to statements made by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk on Telegram. The minister didn't disclose how many Russians were freed in the swap.

However, Russian forces in the Ukrainian town Melitopol have begun a mass abduction of people, according to a report by Pravda citing the town's mayor Ivan Fedorov. Russian forces have reportedly kidnapped men of military age at checkpoints en masse.

"Two weeks ago they started offering them to join the Russian army, and today they are kidnapping at checkpoints and taking them in an unknown direction," said Fedorov. "It is already too dangerous to move in Melitopol."

An American among the casualties

Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, an American citizen who was fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, was killed this week, members of his family told CNN on Friday. He was working with a military contracting company that had sent him to Ukraine and was being compensated for fighting against Russian forces.

 Destroyed house of killed resident amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Lukashivka. (credit: REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA) Destroyed house of killed resident amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Lukashivka. (credit: REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMRA)

Another CNN report, citing US officials, stated that Russian forces are making "slow and uneven" progress in Ukraine, after seeing alleged evidence that Russia's ability to combine land and air assaults has improved.

A possible nuclear incident?

The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) warned on Friday that any missiles flying over Ukraine's power plant could lead to a nuclear accident. 

IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited the Chornobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) and was informed by Ukraine’s regulator on Friday that a missile flew over the NPP two weeks ago.

"The IAEA is looking into this matter, which, if confirmed, would be extremely serious. Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the NPP potentially leading to a nuclear accident," Grossi said upon being briefed on the situation.

Meanwhile, the Azovstal steel power plant in Mariupol has suffered the "heaviest airstrikes so far," a Ukrainian official said in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

Two British aid workers held by Russian forces in Ukraine

Two British volunteers working to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine have been captured by the Russian military there, according to the organization for which the men worked.

The non-profit Presidium Network said the two men had been detained by Russian forces at a checkpoint south of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine on Monday.

"The foreign office is doing all it can to support and identify these two people," British trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told Sky News.

The Presidium Network said the men, both civilians, were working as part of a Joint Humanitarian Operations Centre project in Ukraine to help provide food and medical supplies and evacuation support.

On Thursday, the British government confirmed that a British national had been killed and another was missing in Ukraine, with media reporting that the dead man was a former British army veteran who was believed to have been fighting with Ukrainian forces.

More aid to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden called for a $33 billion package in military and economic assistance to Ukraine. Military aid would include heavy artillery, cyber warfare tools, intelligence sharing and armored vehicles. 

“We’re not attacking Russia. We’re helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression,” the American President said.

Ukraine has received an 88.5 million euro ($93.54 million) grant from the World Bank for priority social, humanitarian and healthcare expenditures and to support internally displaced persons, the finance ministry said on Friday.

Britain said on Friday it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes, with a team due to arrive in Poland in early May.

"Russia has brought barbarity to Ukraine and committed vile atrocities, including against women. British expertise will help uncover the truth and hold (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's regime to account for its actions," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

Casualties

More than 100 civilians were killed in Kyiv during the war, with another 435 wounded, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko on Facebook. 

"In just over 2 months of Russia's barbaric invasion, 435 civilians were injured in the capital. Slightly more than 100 died, including 4 children," Klitschko wrote.

Updated Russian casualties since the start of the invasion include 23,000 troops, 187 planes, 155 helicopters, 986 tanks, 435 artillery systems, 2,418 armored personnel carriers, 151 MLRS, 1,695 vehicles, 76 fuel tanks, 8 boats, 229 UAVs and 72 anti-aircraft warfare as of Friday morning, according to the Ukrainian General Staff of Armed Forces.