Their deaths—along with another woman who was killed by the explosion—have now sparked a criminal investigation and a massive uproar in the Ukrainian capital. Local residents of the Desnyanskyi district allege that a security guard in charge of opening the doors of the medical clinic that housed the shelter was drunk and passed out at the time of the attack.
Yaroslav Ryabchuk, the husband of one of the women killed, tearfully told local media that his wife and several others had repeatedly pounded on the doors of the clinic “loudly enough” for people inside to hear.
“No one opened up for them,” he told Reuters.
The security guard, who has not been identified, was taken for a medical examination to determine if he was intoxicated, the local prosecutor’s office told Suspilne News.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko visited the bombed out clinic Thursday and was met with fury from locals who complained about bomb shelters being unreliable, since many of them are allegedly left locked.
Klitschko promised that patrol police would inspect all bomb shelters from now on to check if they are open or not each night, and he called for the official in charge of the area to be suspended pending an official investigation.
Local residents were quoted telling New Voice that the security guard was frequently seen getting drunk on the job in recent weeks and had been known to not open the door for people.
But the head of the municipal security department, Roman Tkachuk, said the security guard had “tried to open the door, and as he was opening it the explosion happened.”
Several buildings were also damaged in the missile strike, Russia’s 18th attack on the capital this month. Moscow has stepped up attacks on Kyiv in recent weeks as the Ukrainian military prepares for a counteroffensive.