Russia Snubs Antonio Guterres; Fires Missiles Into Kyiv After UN Chief's Visit

Russia bombed Kyiv on Thursday, while a high profile visit by the head of the United Nations, António Guterres, was underway in the city. At least one person was killed in the severest attack on the Ukrainian capital in many weeks. The office of the UN chief said Guterres and his team were safe.

Loud explosions rang through Kyiv following Guterres' meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and his visit to the site of massacres on the city's outskirts. Ukraine Defence Oleksii Reznikov said the Russian missile strikes were an attack on the security of the Secretary General, and on world security.

UN Secretary General António Guterres
UN Secretary General António Guterres Wikimedia Commons

I was Shocked, Says UN Chief

Gutteres did not hide his shock following the attack. "I was shocked to be informed that two rockets have exploded in the city where I am ... So this is a dramatic war, and we absolutely need to end this war and we absolutely need to have a solution for this war," Gutteres said, according to BBC.

The UN chief had met Russian President Vladimir Putin a day before he arrived in Kyiv. In Moscow Putin held discussions with the UN chief at the infamous 'long table' which was also used to hold discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron just days before he launched the war on Ukraine.

hypersonic missile
Representative image Wikimedia Commons

Symbolism of Attack

Though Ukrainian officials played down the timing of the Russian missile attack on Kyiv, the significance and symbolism of the attack was not lost on observers, who see it as a Russian snub at the institution of UN.

"While the UN Secretary General@antonioguterres is visiting Kyiv, a permanent member of the UN Security Council - russia - is launching missile strikes on the city. This is an attack on the security of the Secretary General and on world security," tweeted Resnikov.

Earlier, after a meeting with Zelensky, the UN chief said Ukraine is the ''epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain."

"Wherever there is a war, the highest price is paid by civilians ... The war is an absurdity in the 21st century. The war is evil. And when one sees these situations our heart, of course, stays with the victims," he told the local media after visiting places around Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Russia intensified attacks on various other fronts of the Ukraine war, with loud explosions being reported in Polonne in the west, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and Fastiv near Kyiv. Odesa also witnessed rocket attacks, while the Donbas region and Kharkiv also witnessed increased Russian offensive.