A senior Ukrainian government official expressed “disbelief” on Sunday after learning that nearly half of Kyiv bomb shelters inspected during an initial audit were closed or unfit for use.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered an inspection of all Ukrainian shelters on Friday, a day after three people were killed in Kyiv when they were unable to access one during a Russian air strike.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, said that out of 1,078 shelters examined on the first day, 359 were unprepared and another 122 locked, while 597 were found to be usable.
“I greeted with disbelief that fact that half were open and considered ready,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
“Yesterday, when we selectively checked the shelters in the Obolon district with our mayor, the absolute majority of the shelters were closed.”
Kamyshin said the inspections, taking place with the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine now in its 17th month, would continue.
Russia has stepped up regular attacks on Kyiv since early May, especially at night, in what officials say is an attempt to damage morale ahead of a long-expected Ukrainian counteroffensive to reclaim Russian-occupied territory.
Thursday’s deaths caused a public outcry and a promise of a harsh response by Zelenskyy, which appeared aimed at Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, who has clashed with the president before.
Klitschko acknowledged at a local committee meeting on Friday that he bore some responsibility but said others were also to blame, particularly allies of the president who had been appointed to lead the city’s districts.