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Missiles hit Kyiv seconds after air raid alert, leaving people no time to shelter

by Kateryna Hodunova March 25, 2024 9:15 PM 5 min read
A hypersonic missile hit the Kyiv State Academy of Decorative and Applied Arts and Design named after Mykhailo Boychuk on March 25, 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The State Emergency Service is conducting measures to search for people under the rubble. Overnight, Russia launched 57 missiles and drones in the attack on multiple cities, according to Ukrainian officials. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)
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KYIV – "Masha is safe. And we now have a terrace," Andrii Petrus, a barista, said while pouring coffee into a paper cup.

The coffee shop he was working in had its window frames blown out by the explosion following yet another Russian missile attack on Kyiv — a third over the past week.

Petrus' colleague, Mariia (Masha) Yevstafieva, was on the shift during the attack. She miraculously went unharmed in a "now open-air" coffee shop filled with shattered glass.

"I wanted to change my hoodie to a t-shirt (moments prior). I do not know how it could have ended if I had done so," she told the Kyiv Independent, showing the holes in her clothes. She believes her oversized hoodie has stopped the glass.

Russia launched a missile attack on Kyiv on March 25, using its brand-new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, among other weaponry.

A series of explosions rocked the city just a few seconds after the air raid sirens sounded at around 10:30 a.m. local time, a sign of a hypersonic attack. The debris from an intercepted missile fell in the capital's Pecherskyi, Solomianskyi, and Dniprovskyi districts.

Ten people were injured. Thanks to what looks like pure luck, Yevstafieva wasn't one of them.

Russia launches another missile attack on Kyiv, at least 2 injured
Russia launched yet another missile attack on Ukraine’s capital, injuring at least seven people as well as damaging an educational facility and a residential building, Ukrainian authorities reported on March 25.

'We wouldn't have survived'

Anna Levchenko, a first-year student from Ivano-Frankivsk, was preparing for a regular day at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design, named after painter Mykhailo Boichuk, executed by the Soviet regime.

Levchenko, who was getting ready at the dorm nearby, didn't reach the academy – a Russian missile hit it.

"Firstly, I thought the car accident happened in the street. I do not know why the air raid siren sounded so late," Levchenko told the Kyiv Independent.

After the first explosion, Levchenko and other students rushed to the corridor. After the second missile hit, students ran to the basement.

Oleksandra Kyrylova, a teacher at the academy, was in an art class with three students when the missile hit the main building.

As the air raid siren sounded, Kyrylova and her students began to grab their belongings to run to the corridor. They did not manage to do so, as the building was struck, and they fell on the floor. Later on, Kyrylova got back on her feet and went to the corridor. It was damaged heavily – no more windows or doors were there.

"One minute saved us. We wouldn't have survived if we entered the corridor," Kyrylova said.

The teacher told the Kyiv Independent that the gym, the concert hall, the academy's museum, and the art department were destroyed. One of the academy's workers was trapped under the rubble and was hospitalized later.

More than one hundred students attended classes on the day of the attack, according to Kyrylova.

"I always go to the bomb shelter (after the air raid siren sounds). But today, nobody could," Kyrylova said, pointing to the fact that the alert came too late.

State Emergency Service inspects the zone of a missile impact near the Academy of Applied Arts and Design on March 25, 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)

Tetiana Kryvolap, a retiree who lives in a building nearby, told the Kyiv Independent that her 10-year-old granddaughter was in the flat at the time of impact.

"She was shocked, hysterical. She was trembling," Kryvolap said.

"I have been working as a janitor for 23 years and managed to buy it," Tetiana said, showing the flat on the ground floor of the building right next to the academy. All its windows were shattered.

"And all these things (belongings) come and go. Thank God we are alive."

'It will cost us a lot'

Yevstafieva, who works at the coffee shop across the street from the academy, now thinks of what it will take them to repair.

"It will cost us a lot," she said.

"So much effort was invested in this place," Mariia said in tears. "I love it so much and could have never imagined such a thing to happen."

Despite all the damages, the coffee shop was not closed, and the line of people waiting for their drinks was substantial as the emergency services continued the rescue operations just twenty meters away.

"Ukrainians are unbreakable," Mariia said, answering why they had decided to continue to operate after the strike.

"Everybody wanted coffee (after the attack). A lot of journalists and our regular customers who live nearby came. We just wanted to please and distract people," she added.

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