Zelenskys aide quits over claim ‘deflected’ missile hit Dnipro flats

Ukraine: Dnipro emergency services on scene after strike on flats

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A high-profile adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky has resigned after he claimed a Russian missile killed dozens of people after it was deflected on to a block of flats in Dnipro by Ukraine’s air defences. At least 45 people were killed, including five children, when a Russian KH-22 cruise missile slammed into a building on Saturday.

Dozens more people were injured in one of the deadliest attacks by Vladimir Putin’s troops since the invasion started last February.

Oleksiy Arestovych, who served as an adviser to the Ukrainian President’s chief of staff, claimed the missile was shot down.

Speaking in an online interview just hours after the attack, he said: “[The missile] was shot down and fell on the entranceway [to the flats]. It exploded where it fell.”

Moscow seized on the allegation as “evidence” Russia does not target civilians.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “You’ve seen the conclusions of the Ukrainian representatives, who say that this tragedy was the result of the actions of air defence missiles.”

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However, Kyiv’s air force revealed it does not have the ability to shoot down KH-22 missiles.

KH-22 missiles travel up to 2,500mph and are notoriously inaccurate.

The Times has reported that Ukraine’s air force had claimed on at least three previous occasions to have downed KH-22s.

But the air force said its previous comments were “erroneous” and other types of missiles had initially been mistaken for KH-22s.

Yuriy Ignat, an air force spokesman, said: “More than 210 missiles of this type have been fired at the territory of Ukraine.

“Not a single one has been shot down by means of air defence.”

Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov urged the SBU intelligence agency to carry out an investigation into Arestovych.

He wrote on Telegram: “I swear before God that the missile strike was direct.”

Arestovych, who has since admitted it was a “serious mistake”, claimed he was voicing a preliminary theory.

He wrote in his resignation letter: “I want to provide an example of civilised behaviour — a fundamental error means I should resign.”

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He also offered his “sincere apologies” to the families of the victims. 

Zelensky’s office said later that it had accepted Arestovych’s resignation.

In his office, Zelensky called the attack against Dnipro a “war crime”.

He said: “Your cowardly silence, your attempt to wait out the things that are happening, will only end with these same terrorists coming for you, too, one day.”

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