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Journalist who formerly worked at Israeli embassy killed in Russian strike on Kyiv

Radio Free Europe says body of Vera Hyrych found in rubble after Russian missile strike on city that came as UN secretary-general was visiting

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych who was killed in a Russian Strike on Kyiv on April 28, 2022. Hyrych  was reported to have previously worked at the Israeli embassy in Kyiv (Courtesy)
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Vira Hyrych who was killed in a Russian Strike on Kyiv on April 28, 2022. Hyrych was reported to have previously worked at the Israeli embassy in Kyiv (Courtesy)

A journalist killed in a Russian strike on Kyiv previously worked for the Israeli embassy in Ukraine, the current ambassador there said Friday.

The US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Friday that Vera Hyrych was killed when a rocket hit her home, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the Ukrainian capital.

“Radio Liberty journalist and producer Vera Hyrych died as a result of a Russian missile hitting the house where she lived in Kyiv. The attack took place on April 28,” the Ukrainian branch of the news organization said in a statement.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a statement on social media that rescuers had discovered the remains of one person in the rubble after the attack.

The statement said that Hyrych began working at Radio Liberty’s Kyiv’s bureau in early 2018 after previously working at a leading television channel in Ukraine.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Brodsky said on Facebook that Hyrych had worked at the Israeli embassy in the early 2000s, but gave no other details.

В результате вчерашнего ракетного обстрела центра Киева погибла корреспондент радио «Свобода» Вера Гирич. Вера работала в нашем посольстве в начале 2000-х годов. Соболезнования семье и родственникам Веры.

Posted by Michael Brodsky on Friday, April 29, 2022

Edward Doks, an Israeli correspondent for Ynet, recalled working opposite Hyrych at the time, when he was a spokesperson for the Jewish Agency for Israel and she was a spokesperson for the embassy.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Clean-up crews prepare to work at the site of an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday, April 29, 2022. Russia struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv shortly after a meeting between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday evening. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Radio Free Europe President Jamie Fly said the broadcaster was “shocked and angered by the senseless nature of her death at home in a country and city she loved.”

The editorial board extended its condolences to her family and said it would “remember her as a bright and kind person, a true professional.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international media advocacy group says that at least seven journalists have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

Radio Free Europe said that Hyrych, born in 1967, is survived by her parents and an adult son.

Kyiv had been relatively unscathed in recent weeks, and cafes and other businesses have started to reopen, while growing numbers of people have been out and about, enjoying the spring weather.

Thursday’s explosions in northwestern Kyiv’s Shevchenkivsky district shook the city. Flames poured out the windows of the buildings hit.

A fire after a Russian rocket attack is seen in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Ten other people were wounded in the attack, including at least one who lost a leg, according to emergency officials.

Russia’s defense ministry on Friday said it had carried out the airstrike with “high-precision” weapons on Kyiv during a visit by Guterres.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of trying to humiliate the United Nations by raining missiles on Kyiv during a visit to the city by the UN chief.

In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres leave a news conference during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The bombardment came barely an hour after Zelensky held a news conference with Guterres, who toured some of the destruction in and around Kyiv and condemned attacks on civilians.

“This says a lot about Russia’s true attitude toward global institutions, about attempts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the UN and everything the organization represents,” Zelensky said late Thursday in his nightly video address to the nation. “Therefore, it requires a correspondingly powerful response.”

Mayor Klitschko said the attack was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s way of giving Guterres “his middle finger.”

The strikes were the boldest Russian attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago following their failure to take the city. Russia is now pushing into the Donbas, the country’s eastern industrial region, which the Kremlin says is its main objective.

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