RFE/RL Journalist Dies In Russian Missile Strikes On Kyiv

KYIV -- RFE/RL journalist Vira Hyrych has died in Kyiv after a Russian missile strike hit the residential building where she lived in the Ukrainian capital.

Hyrych's body was found early in the morning on April 29 amid the wreckage of the building, which was hit by a Russian missile the night before, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Kyiv on April 28 as missile strikes hit the capital, including the apartment block.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of our Ukrainian Service staffer Vira Hyrych in Kyiv overnight. We have lost a dear colleague who will be remembered for her professionalism and dedication to our mission," RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said in a statement.

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"We are shocked and angered by the senseless nature of her death at home in a country and city she loved. Her memory will inspire our work in Ukraine and beyond for years to come," he added.

Videos and pictures from the site showed the lower floors of the building heavily damaged. Cars in the area had their windows blown out.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed "long-range, high-precision" missiles had hit factory buildings in Kyiv of Ukrainian rocket manufacturer Artem on April 28.

Ukrainian officials have not commented on whether the factory had been hit during the attack.

The United States is still trying to ascertain whether there was a military target for the strike or whether Russia may simply have been “trying to send a message to the international community,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on MSNBC.

The attack was an assault on the Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian people, and on “those who are doing nothing more than to try to spread the truth,” Price said, noting that Hyrych unfortunately “is not the first journalist to lose his or her life in this fight.”

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram on April 29 that one body had been retrieved from the rubble and another 10 people had been injured in the strikes. He gave no further details.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who met with Guterres in Kyiv barely an hour earlier, has condemned the missile strikes and called for a "corresponding powerful reaction."

Hyrych, born in 1967, began working for RFE/RL in February 2018. Before that she worked at a leading television channel in Ukraine.

She is survived by her parents and an adult son.