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Radio Free Europe journalist killed in Kyiv shelling

April 29, 2022

Reporter Vira Hyrych lost her life when a Russian missile hit her home in central Kyiv. The attack took place during the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

A building in Kyiv with its bottom floors destroyed following a Russian missile strike
Radio Free Europe journalist Vira Hyrych was killed in a Russian air strike on an apartment building in KyivImage: Kostiantyn Honcharov/DW
  • Radio Free Europe journalist found dead after Kyiv shelling 
  • Zelenskyy says Russia sought to humiliate the UN by bombing the city during UN chief's visit
  • Russia captures two British aid workers
  • US said it is training Ukrainian troops in Germany

This live updates article is not closed. For the latest on the war in Ukraine, please click here

This article was last updated at 00:10 GMT/UTC

Russia trying to 'destroy Donbas,' Zelenskyy says

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia wants to "destroy any life" in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, comparing it to the Russian offensive against the port city of Mariupol.

"Constant brutal bombings, constant Russian strikes at infrastructure and residential areas show that Russia wants to make this area uninhabited," he said.

He welcomed the return to Kyiv of the British Ambassador Melinda Simmons and added that "currently, 27 foreign diplomatic missions operate in the capital of our country."

Zelenskyy also gave his condolences to the relatives and friends of Vera Hyrych, the journalist killed in Thursday's airstrike against Kyiv.

"The dismantlement of debris in Kyiv, where Russian missiles hit yesterday during the visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, continues," he said. "Unfortunately, such a deliberate and brutal humiliation of the United Nations by Russia was left without a powerful response."

Russia intensifies shelling in Ukraine

Russia makes overdue foreign payments in dollars

Russia's finance ministry said on Friday that it had made two interest payments on foreign bonds in dollars, just avoiding a last-minute default.

The payment of the debt in US dollars marks a U-turn by Moscow after it had pledged to pay only in rubles following the freezing of its foreign currency reserves.

While the deadline had already passed, Russia was able to make the payment before the end of the 30-day grace period — something investors and ratings agencies had not expected.

The sanctioning of Russia's Central Bank has forced Moscow to use revenues from gas and oil sales to pay off debts or foreign currency reserves outside the country. The aim of the international sanctions is to deplete the country's financial resources and so halt its ability to fund its war in Ukraine.

Speculation over a possible default has loomed large since the sanctions were first imposed. Russia has not defaulted since the 1917 Revolution, which led to the collapse of the Russian Empire and the founding of the Soviet Union.

A US license that allows banks to process Russian debt payments is set to expire in less than four weeks.

War having an 'immense impact' on kids, Save the Children tells DW

Made Ferguson, who works with the international aid organization Save the Children in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, told DW about the support children need amid Russia's ongoing invasion.

"Over 7 million children are currently displaced within Ukraine," Ferguson said. "This is leading to separation of families."

Ferguson said many of the children were not orphans, adding that "we need to work to reunite these children with their families to make sure that they don't lose their childhood."

She called for a "monitoring and tracking system so that we can make sure we can find out where these children are going."

"The impact of war on children is immense, both in terms of the risk of physical harm, as well as the psychological impact that conflict can have on children," Ferguson said of his experiences on the ground. "So it's really important that we're able to provide not just the basic services, but the food, shelter, drinking water, but also psychological first aid, mental health and psychosocial support for families who are fleeing the conflict."

Children from Ukrainian orphanages in Poland

'Moldova should worry about its future,' Russia says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned Moldova about getting close to NATO days after mysterious explosions in the Moldovan breakaway region of Trans-Dniester — where Russian troops have been stationed — sparked concern that the small neighbor of Ukraine would be dragged into the conflict.

"Moldova should worry about its own future because it's being pulled into NATO," Lavrov said in an interview on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV.

Germany and other Western partners pledged millions in support for the former Soviet country after it took in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Ukraine war sparks worries in Moldova

Indonesia invites Putin and Zelenskyy to G20 summit

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, which currently holds the rotating G20 presidency, said on Friday that he had invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to this year's summit on the island of Bali.

Widodo also announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin had confirmed he would attend as well. Indonesia invited the Russian leader despite pressure from US President Joe Biden, and others, not to.

The invitation of Ukraine, which is not a G20 member, has been seen as a compromise. Indonesia had argued that it had to remain "impartial."

"The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20. We have welcomed the Ukrainians attending," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in Washington. 

US training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany

The US military is training Ukrainian troops at military installations in Germany, the Pentagon said.

Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said a small number of Ukrainian soldiers were receiving training outside Ukraine with advanced weapons systems.

"They are basically going be trainers themselves, they'll be going back into Ukraine and train their teammates," Kirby said.

The US was also training soldiers at other European locations, but Kirby declined to say where. As of Friday, about 50 Ukrainian troops have been shown how to use the howitzer, a long-ranged weapon. Ukrainians also will be trained on the use of radar systems and armored vehicles.

Kirby noted Washington was in contact with the government in Berlin about the program.

Lavrov says Russia 'not at war with NATO'

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said his country does not consider itself to be at war with NATO, according to state news agency RIA.

He said such a development would increase the risk of nuclear war.

He went on to say Russia was not threatening anyone with nuclear war, but accused Western nations of doing so.

RIA also said Lavrov told the Al Arabiya television channel that Ukraine was at fault for stalled peace talks, claiming Kyiv was changing its position under orders from the United States and Britain.

Zelenskyy warns peace talks are faltering

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned peace talks with Russia could end and blamed public anger over what he said were atrocities by Russian troops, according to Interfax Ukraine.

"People [Ukrainians] want to kill them. When that kind of attitude exists, it's hard to talk about things," Interfax quoted him as telling Polish journalists.

However, he added, "I must hold on to trying to reach an agreement."

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators have held several rounds of talks, including high-profile summits in Belarus and Turkey but have made no tangible progress.

Ukrainian volunteers prepare to defend Odesa

Ukraine wants WHO to discuss war's impact on health care

Ukraine, backed by dozens of other countries, has written to the World Health Organization calling for an urgent meeting on the impact of Russia's invasion on healthcare.

The letter, seen by the Reuters news agency, urged the WHO Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge to convene a meeting to discuss attacks on health facilities, disrupted vaccination campaigns, and concerns about the risk of radiological and chemical events.

It also suggested that Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus address the matter at a meeting of the World Health Assembly in May.

A WHO Europe spokesperson said that the body had taken note of the request and would propose to hold the special session on May 10.

Russia is one of 53 members of the WHO's European region.

Human Rights Watch says Poland needs to step up protection of Ukrainian refugees

Poland should take full responsibility for the safety and security of people fleeing war in Ukraine and take action now to make housing, transportation, and employment safe, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The rights group said some refugees had already encountered potential exploitation or abuse.

"Poland's acceptance of those fleeing the war in Ukraine is a positive shift from its response to other crises, but the lack of basic protection measures risks exposing refugees to serious abuse," said Hillary Margolis, senior women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

HRW said women and girls in particular faced heightened risks of gender-based violence, trafficking, and other exploitation because of a lack of systematic protection and security measures for refugees.

"Abdicating this role to volunteers and activists puts the burden of refugees' safety on well-meaning but mostly untrained people without the needed systems or support," Margolis added.

The Polish Border Guard said some 3,033,000 people have crossed into the country from Ukraine.

UN pledges redoubled efforts to save lives in Ukraine

The United Nations will redouble its efforts to reduce human suffering in Ukraine, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said after his visit to Kyiv.  

"I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up," he wrote on Twitter.

"The UN will redouble its efforts to save lives and reduce human suffering. In this war, as in all wars, the civilians always pay the highest price," Guterres said.

On Thursday, shortly after Guterres held a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Russian missiles struck the center of the city. One of the missiles hit an apartment building. As a result, Radio Free Europe journalist Vira Hyrych was killed.

More than 3 million people fled from Ukraine to Poland

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than 3 million people have crossed from there to neighboring Poland.

Officials had received some 3,033,000 people at the official border crossings with Ukraine, the Polish Border Guard said on Twitter.

It is not clear how many have remained in Poland, with many known to have traveled onward to third countries, such as Germany.

In the meantime, however, 924,000 people had also crossed the border in the opposite direction, returning to Ukraine.

According to the UNHCR, the total number of Ukrainian refugees to have left the country reached 5.4 million people as of Thursday.

Former US Marine reported killed in Ukraine

Former US Marine Willy Joseph Cancel was killed while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN.

He wanted to go over because "he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for," she said, "and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn't come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn't have to be involved in it."

The State Department said it was aware of the reports and is "closely monitoring the situation" but could not comment further.

"We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options,'' the State Department said.

Cabrera said her son's body had not been found.

NATO scrambled fighter planes multiple times over the past four days

NATO Allied Air Command said fighter planes have scrambled "multiple times" to track and intercept Russian planes near alliance airspace over the past four days.

It said the Russian planes were particularly active over the Baltic and Black Seas.

NATO planes from Poland, Denmark, France and Spain have been airborne at different times over the Baltic Sea region, while Romania and the UK helped safeguard allied air space over the Black Sea region.

NATO said that the Russian aircraft never entered the alliance's airspace and "interceptions were conducted in a safe and routine manner."

Donetsk official vows to repel Russian offensive

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the military and civil administration in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, told DW about Russia's ongoing attacks in the area.

"The offensive started from the north of the region in the direction of [the town of] Lyman. The Ukrainian armed forces are holding back the enemy and doing everything they can to prevent the enemy from moving forward in the direction of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk," Kyrylenko said.

The Donetsk official said he expects more fighting.

"After pulling up reserves and regrouping for this offensive they are trying to follow their previous tactics: intensive shelling first, then heavy armored vehicles move in," he said. "The offensive is intensifying but the Ukrainian forces are holding it back."

Western countries recently agreed to deliver more heavy weapons to Ukraine following a meeting in Germany.

"It's very important and we need these weapons," Kyrylenko said. "It's the only way for us to stand up against the enemy's assault. We will not give up our land and we will fight for every inch," Kyrylenko said.

Map showing Russian military presence in Ukraine
Russia has focused its recent offensive on eastern Ukraine

Poland and Czech Republic strengthen cooperation in the energy sector

The prime ministers of Poland and the Czech Republic agreed in Warsaw on increased cooperation in the energy sector and continued support of Ukraine.

"We are sending a clear message: Ukraine needs our political support, humanitarian and military assistance. Poland and the Czech Republic are building energy cooperation, that will strengthen independence from Russia. We will not pay in roubles for the blood of Ukrainians," wrote Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki on Twitter.

Poland and the Czech Republic will also ask the European Commission for new funds to help deal with refugees from Ukraine, the Morawiecki said.

For his part, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said both countries had agreed to resume previously stalled talks on building the Stork II gas pipeline.

The Czech Republic is also interested in buying capacity in Poland's expanded or newly built LNG terminals, Fiala said.

Finland and Sweden mull closer military ties

Stockholm and Helsinki are ready to cooperate more closely if the security situation deteriorates,  Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters on Friday.

This includes changes that might happen if the two countries decide to join NATO, and "includes all sectors on military cooperation," he said.

Unlike Norway and Denmark, who are in NATO, Sweden and Finland have long pursued a policy of neutrality while closely cooperating with the US-led alliance. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted a review of their NATO stance.

The two countries are now saying they would also coordinate on the issue of joining NATO.

"Of course what Finland decides will very much affect what Sweden is going to decide," Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said.

Netherlands to move its embassy back to Kyiv

The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry is sending its ambassador Jennes de Mol and a "small embassy team" back to Kyiv, aiming to reopen its diplomatic mission two months after pulling its staff out of the Ukrainian capital.

"We have a close working relationship with Ukraine and we support them diplomatically, humanitarily and militarily," Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra said. "It is important that we can support this with an embassy on the ground in Kyiv."

While the embassy is set to reopen, it will not immediately be accessible for consular assistance.

The Dutch government evacuated its Kyiv embassy staff two days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Less than two weeks ago, they reopened their embassy in the western city of Lviv, which is considered safer than Kyiv due to its distance from the frontline.

But with Russia switching its tactics to focus on eastern Ukraine, several EU countries have either moved their representatives back to Kyiv or announced plans to do so soon.

Melinda Simmons, the UK ambassador to Ukraine, meanwhile indicated on Twitter that she is back in Kyiv. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said the embassy in the Ukrainian capital would reopen.

Weapons deliveries 'unlikely to make a significant difference'

Weapons shipments by the United States, Britain, and European countries to Ukraine were "unlikely to make a significant difference," military analyst Frank Ledwidge from the University of Portsmouth told DW.

"It's going to replace losses and hopefully allow the Ukrainians to hold the line, but it won't allow the Ukrainians the facility to counter-attack and retake ground," he said.

However, he said the US lend-lease act, approved on Thursday to streamline American equipment deliveries, would have a more consequential impact.

"The arsenal of democracy is open, and it makes it ultimately highly likely that the Ukrainians may have the capability to retake a considerable amount of land," he added.

He said it would "strategically in the long term, in my view, ensure military defeat for the Russians as long as NATO's unity can be maintained."

DW’s Nina Haase talks about Germany’s position on further support for Ukraine

Lithuania says it will supply Poland with gas from its LNG terminal

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said his country would send Poland gas from its LNG terminal.

"Our response to Kremlin's energy blackmail — even greater unity & cooperation. Lithuania is glad to supply Poland with natural gas from our LNG terminal starting from May," he wrote on Twitter.

Nauseda also said that there was "no place for bloody Russian gas and oil in the EU."

On Wednesday, Russia cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria, two EU and NATO members backing Ukraine.

However, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Poland and Bulgaria were now receiving gas from their EU neighbors.

Russian shelling kills Radio Free Europe reporter

With Russian forces continuing missile attacks across Ukraine, US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said one of their reporters, Vira Hyrych, was killed in Kyiv.

Hyrych lost her life when a Russian missile hit her home in downtown Kyiv, according to the broadcaster. The Prague-based news outlet also said that the missiles damaged the first and the second floor of the 25-story residential building, causing a fire.

The shelling took place during the visit of UN Secretary-General on Thursday, with the reporter's body discovered on Friday morning. 

"She was going to bed when a Russian ballistic missile hit her apartment in central Kyiv. Russia's barbarism is incomprehensible," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said. "We call on media organizations to condemn the murder of Vira and all other innocent Ukrainians."

Several reporters have lost their lives since the war in Ukraine started, including Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and his fixer, Ukrainian journalist Olexandra Kuvshynova, as well Brent Renaud, a US documentary filmmaker that had previously worked for the New York Times.

Russian journalist Oksana Baulina, who worked for Latvian-based, independent Russian-language outlet The Insider, was also killed in a so-called Kamikaze drone strike on Kyiv last month.

German government slams 'contemptuous' shelling of Kyiv

Berlin condemned Russia's shelling of Kyiv "in the strongest possible terms"  after two blasts shook the city during the visit of UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres.

"The move from the Russian side is contemptuous to human dignity," a government spokesperson said.

The shelling shows that "Putin and his regime have no respect whatsoever for international law."

Russia has confirmed firing at the city, saying that its forces targeted a "rocket and space industry enterprise" in Kyiv with long-range, high-precision missiles.

DW's Rebecca Ritters reports from Kyiv

UK sends war crimes experts to help Ukraine investigate atrocities

Britain said it was sending experts to help Ukraine with gathering evidence and prosecuting war crimes committed by Russian troops. A team is 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," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

The announcement comes as Truss travels to The Hague to meet with International Criminal Court President, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, and her Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra.

"The specialist team will assist the Ukrainian government as they gather evidence and prosecute war crimes and will include experts in conflict-related sexual violence," said a foreign office statement.

On Thursday, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova told DW that thousands of possible war crimes are being investigated in Ukraine.

"We have now over 8,000 cases, it's actually 8,600 cases only about war crimes, and more than 4,000 cases that are connected with war crimes," Venediktova said.

Two British aid workers captured by Russia in southern Ukraine

Two British volunteers providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine have been captured by the Russian military, the BBC reports, citing an NGO.

The non-profit Presidium Network said the men were detained on Monday at a Russian checkpoint near the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine.

They are said to have been trying to rescue a family from a village south of Zaporizhzhia at the time of their capture.

The two aid workers who were reportedly captured are believed to have been working independently, but were in touch with the Presidium Network.

The Foreign Office is said to be urgently seeking more information.

On Thursday, the British government confirmed that one Briton had been killed in Ukraine and another was missing.

Zelenskyy: Russian leadership wants 'to humiliate the UN'

Poland has already sent more than 200 T-72 tanks to Ukraine

Poland has provided Ukraine with more than 200 T-72 tanks, as well as several dozen infantry fighting vehicles, according to reports from state-run Radio Poland.

Ukraine also received Polish self-propelled howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, as well as air-to-air missiles for MiG-29 and Su-27 aircraft.

In addition to heavy military equipment, Poland is also supplying Ukraine with drones, portable anti-aircraft missile systems, and a large amount of ammunition.

According to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Warsaw has handed over 1.5 billion euros worth of military equipment to Ukraine.

In early April, it was reported that the Czech Republic had sent an undisclosed number of T-72s and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.

Prominent German figures warn Scholz over heavy weapons to Ukraine

A number of well-known German public figures have written an open letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying that delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine could push the world into World War III or a nuclear conflict.

The fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has violated international law by attacking Ukraine did not justify "accepting the risk of this war escalating into a nuclear conflict," it said.

It said responsibility for such a conflict lay not only with the “original aggressor” but also "with those who, with their eyes open, provide him with a motive to act in a possibly criminal manner."

The letter has so far been signed by 28 German celebrities, including Emma's editor-in-chief, the well-known feminist Alice Schwarzer, author Martin Walser and science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar.

Schwarzer said the letter could now be signed by members of the public.

Scholz has been hesitant about delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine, citing the same reasons mentioned in the letter. Its signatories said they supported this stance by the chancellor, in contrast with the many critics who have accused Scholz of over-caution.

'Gepard' tank
'Gepard' anti-aircraft tanks will be among the heavy armaments sent by GermanyImage: Thomas Imo/photothek/picture alliance

390,000 Ukrainian refugees registered in Germany

According to the German federal police, 389,389 refugees from Ukraine were registered in Germany by Friday. However, the actual number of arrivals is likely to be significantly higher, since not all of them have been recorded.

Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, more and more refugees are returning to the country. Around 20,000 Ukrainians are currently returning from Poland to their home country every day, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) told the RTL and ntv channels.

According to Faeser, among them are refugees who had previously stayed in Germany. Currently, only around 2,000 newcomers from Ukraine are registered in Germany each day. In March it was 15,000.

Russia confirms missile strike on Kyiv during UN visit

Russia said on Friday 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.

"High-precision long-range air-based weapons destroyed the production facilities of the Artem rocket and space industry enterprise in the city of Kyiv," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, Russian missiles struck the center of Kyiv. One of the missiles hit an apartment building. As a result, according to Kyiv authorities, at least one person was killed.

The explosions occurred shortly after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the city.

Evacuation planned from Azovstal steelworks: Kyiv

Ukraine's presidency has said in a statement that an operation is planned on Friday to evacuate civilians from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol.

The announcement comes a day after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world body was "doing everything" to enable civilians to be rescued from the port city.

The steel plant has been under constant shelling by Russian forces, who are trying to dislodge the last fighters defending the city, which has been devastated in the war. Numerous civilians are reported to be holed up at the facility along with the fighters.

The Mariupol city council has said about 100,000 city residents are in danger of their lives from the Russian shelling and because of unsanitary conditions and shortages of water and food.

On Tuesday, at talks with Guterres, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed "in principle" to the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in evacuating the Azovstal plant.

Azovstal steelworks seen from air after damage from Russian shelling
The Asovstal facility is the last bastion of Ukrainian fighters defending MariupolImage: Planet Labs/AP Photo/picture alliance

IAEA probing report of missile overflight above nuclear plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it is looking into a report by the Ukrainian government that a missile had flown directly over the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Thursday the agency had been told by Kyiv that the missile had flown over the facility near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, some 350 km (220 miles) south of Kyiv, on April 16.

"Had such a missile gone astray, it could have had a severe impact on the physical integrity of the plant, potentially leading to a nuclear accident," he said in a statement.

Grossi did not say who had fired the missile. Kyiv had previously accused Russian forces of sending missiles directly over nuclear power plants.

Securing Chernobyl

Strong Ukrainian resistance limiting Russian advances in Donbas: UK military intelligence

Russia continues to focus on the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine with the aim of gaining control over the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the UK Defence Ministry has said in an intelligence update.

However, it said Russian forces had made only limited territorial gains and incurred significant losses in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance.

The military intelligence report said there had been heavy fighting around the towns of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk and that Russian forces have tried to advance south from Izium toward Slovyansk.

Zelenskyy says Russia sought to humiliate UN

In his daily video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian strikes on Thursday were an attempt to "humiliate" the global organization.

The missiles hit a residential neighborhood in Kyiv less than an hour after he and  UN chief Antonio Guterres held a joint press conference some 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) away.

"Today, immediately after the end of our talks in Kyiv, Russian missiles flew into the city. Five missiles," Zelensky said. "This says a lot... about the Russian leadership's efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents."

Zelenskyy added that it required "a correspondingly powerful reaction."

At least three people were wounded in the attack, with reports of one fatality. It was the first such attack since mid-April.

Two days earlier, Guterres held talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said he remained hopeful that negotiations could end the conflict.

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior Zelensky aide, tweeted his consternation.

"Missile strikes in the downtown of Kyiv during the official visit of @antonioguterres.  The day before he was sitting at a long table in the Kremlin, and today explosions are above his head," he wrote.

Sofia agrees to closer cooperation with Kyiv

Ukraine and Bulgaria have agreed on closer military and economic ties after talks between the countries' leaders in Kyiv.

Zelensky and Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov discussed greater cooperation at the EU level and the sanctions placed on Russia.

A key part of the deal is an agreement that Bulgaria will help fix Ukrainian military gear.

"A very important agreement is on the repair of our military equipment at the Bulgarian production facilities," Zelenskyy said.

Russia halts gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria

He added that there was an agreement on electricity and gas pipelines. Russian state-owned company Gazprom on Wednesday said it had suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. The two countries had both failed to make payments for gas in rubles. The requirement has been made by the Kremlin in response to sanctions.

Zelenskyy and Petkov also agreed that Ukraine could use the Bulgarian port of Varna for the export of agricultural products. Russia either controls or blocks all Ukrainian ports.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, who is considered Moscow-friendly, opposed the visit by Petkov.

Summary of Thursday's events in the war in Ukraine

Two explosions have rocked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, after missiles hit a central district during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

One of the rockets was reported to have hit a residential building, injuring at least three people.

The blasts were soon Guterres concluded talks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

They highlighted concerns that Kyiv still remains vulnerable to Russian heavy weaponry.

In their talks, Guterres and Zelensky discussed ongoing attempts to evacuate the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol. Ukrainian fighters and civilians are currently trapped in the plant amid a Russian blockade.

Guterres also conceded that the UN Security Council had failed in its efforts to prevent the Russian invasion.

US President Joe Biden called on Congress to approve $33 billion (€31.3 billion) in funds for Ukraine. 

Most of the amount will be used for weapons and military aid, but there will also be direct economic aid for Ukraine's government, as well as humanitarian and food security needs.

Biden calls for $33 billion in new Ukraine aid

The UK's Defense Ministry said the Russian navy was still able to strike coastal targets in Ukraine, even after the losses of two warships. The ministry said some 20 Russian vessels were still operating in the Black Sea.

Ukraine's military command said Russia was increasing the pace of the eastern offensive in the Donbas region, "exerting intense fire in almost all directions." 

A presidential aide in Kyiv said that, although Ukraine had suffered serious losses in the war so far, Moscow's forces have lost many more soldiers.

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, voted by a large majority in favor of delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine. Lawmakers urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz to expand the delivery of equipment.

A study released on Thursday showed that only 25% of Germans feel that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has shown strong leadership in the face of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

You can revisit our   live updates from April 28 here.

ab,lo,rc/ss,kb (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)