Zelensky furious with Klitschko over the death of the three women in Kiev, killed in front of a locked shelter

Women cry in Kyiv / Photo: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP / Profimedia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered all shelters to be checked after three people died on a street in Kiev after they failed to enter a closed shelter during a Russian airstrike in the capital.

A nine-year-old girl, her mother and another woman were killed by shrapnel that fell on them when they ran to the shelter, only to find it locked.

The event caused an outcry, and Zelensky spoke out, apparently aimed at the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, with whom they had disagreements before.

Zelensky said he had ordered the Minister of Strategic Industry and the Minister of the Interior to conduct a "full inspection of the shelters". On Thursday, he stressed that shelters "must be available", clarifying that this is the responsibility of local authorities.

Klitschko acknowledged on Friday that he bears some responsibility, but argued that there are others responsible, particularly the president's allies. Spending on shelters in Kyiv's districts, most of which are run by members of Zelenskiy's party, was "gross and inappropriate," and he noted that the city's military administration was run by presidential appointees.

He added that he may ask for the removal of district chiefs after the cost of maintaining the shelters is reviewed.

"The capital regions are not separate principalities where you can go around wearing your white gloves and neglect your duties," he said, adding that he would not tolerate any "sabotage".

In November last year, Zelenski accused Klitschko of not doing a good job of organizing shelters for people who lost electricity and heating in their homes.

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