LONDON: A BBC journalist in Kyiv was forced to interrupt a live broadcast to duck for cover after the Ukraine capital was struck by a series of missile attacks on Monday morning.
Kyiv correspondent Hugo Bachega was delivering the daily briefing from his hotel in the Shevchenskivskyi district when what was believed to be a Russian missile strike hit the city.
A video shows the reporter briefing BBC Breakfast about the overnight bombing of a residential area in the city of Zaporizhia, southeastern Ukraine, before a loud whistle followed by an explosion forces the crew to end the report.
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The broadcast immediately cut back to the London studio where presenter Sally Bundock told viewers that Bachega and his crew were “for obvious reasons taking cover at that point.”
The BBC recontacted Bachega a little over an hour later after he and the camera crew had taken shelter in the hotel’s basement.
Streaming from the building’s car park, Bachega said that a missile had hit a location near his hotel in central Kyiv, where the National University and some government buildings are located.
During the broadcast, the reporter added that the apparent strikes appeared to be a retaliation by Russian President Vladimir Putin for an attack on a bridge linking Russia with Crimea, believed to have been carried out by Ukrainian special forces on Saturday.
Putin has denounced the attack on Kerch Bridge as a “terrorist act.” The bridge provides a vital link between annexed Crimea and Russia, and has both strategic and symbolic importance.
“All morning we’ve been talking about the possibility, the fear here in Ukraine, of a strong Russian response to that explosion on Saturday that hit the Crimea bridge ... it seems that we’re seeing it this morning with the capital being attacked and several cities across the country being hit as well,” Bachega told viewers.
In further retaliation, Russia bombed several cities across Ukraine during rush hour on Monday morning, targeting civilians and infrastructure.
At least eight cities were reportedly bombed, including Dnipro, Lviv, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr and Kropyvnytskyi. The attack in Kyiv was the first time that the capital had been struck by a missile in months.
Several civilians are believed to have died during the Monday attack.
The BBC later confirmed that Bachega and his crew were in a safe and secure location.