KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to humiliate the United Nations by raining missiles on Kyiv during a visit to the city by the U.N. chief, an attack that shattered weeks of relative calm in the capital.
Ukraine’s forces, meanwhile, fought to hold off Russian attempts to advance in the south and east, Zelenskyy reported. And U.N.-backed efforts to arrange safe passage for residents trapped in the ruins of Mariupol continued. Numerous previous attempts to evacuate civilians have fallen through.
Russia pounded targets all over Ukraine on Thursday, hitting a residential high-rise and another building in Kyiv just as life seemed to be getting a little closer to normal. U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said one of its journalists was killed.
Separately, a former U.S. Marine was killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, his relatives said in what would be the first known death of an American citizen taking part in the war. The U.S. has not confirmed the report.
In an apparent reference to the attack in Kyiv, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had destroyed “production buildings” at the Artem defense factory.
The bombardment came barely an hour after Zelenskyy held a news conference with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who toured some of the destruction in and around Kyiv and condemned attacks on civilians.
“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude toward global institutions, about attempts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the U.N. and everything the organization represents,” Zelenskyy said late Thursday in his nightly video address to the nation. “Therefore, it requires a correspondingly powerful response.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s way of giving Guterres “his middle finger.”
The strikes were the boldest Russian attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago following their failure to take the city. Russia is now pushing into the Donbas, the country’s eastern industrial region, which the Kremlin says is its main objective.
Getting a full picture of the unfolding battle in the east has been difficult because airstrikes and artillery barrages have made it extremely dangerous for reporters to move around. Both…