Russian military strikes have targeted a large TV tower in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, leaving at least five dead and blocking transmissions of TV channels across the country, according to the BBC and other news outlets.
CNN reported that the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has confirmed there was a Russian military strike near the TV tower, from which a large plume of smoke has been rising, though it is unclear if the tower has indeed been hit directly.
“The channels will not work for a while,” the ministry said in its statement, as reported by CNN. “The backup broadcasting of some channels will be enabled in the near future.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry called Russia “barbaric” for attacking the TV tower, which is near a memorial site that commemorates the victims of Babyn Yar, the BBC said. Babyn Yar was the site of one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Holocaust.
The attack on the TV tower appears to be a preamble to a full-scale Russian attack on Kyiv.
The Associated Press, CNN, the BBC and other outlets are reporting that concurrent to the rocket strikes on the TV tower, a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles is advancing on Kyiv.
Meanwhile, more than half a million refugees have fled Ukraine during Russia’s invasion, according to the UN. The UN also said at least 102 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 304 injured across the country since the war started.
The National Association of Television Program Executives also released a statement on Tuesday banning Russian companies form its annual international conference, joining a slew of other organizations taking similar action.
“The Ukrainian people have our full support over the barbaric and horrific invasion of their homeland by the brutal dictator Putin and his surrogates,” a statement from NATPE reads. “We wish we could provide more tangible assistance, but what we can do is join the world community and prevent Russian presence from conducting commerce. Therefore we are banning Russian companies from our upcoming international television sales market to be held in Budapest from June 27-30, 2022.”