A quarter of Ukraine’s bomb shelters are either closed or unusable, according to a recent inspection just days after a woman in Kiev was reported to have died waiting outside a closed shelter during a Russian missile barrage.
Ukraine’s interior ministry said on Saturday that of the “more than 4,800” shelters it had inspected, 252 were closed and another 893 were “unfit for use”.
On Saturday, the Kyiv regional prosecutor’s office said four people were arrested in a criminal investigation into the 33-year-old woman’s death on Thursday outside a locked shelter.
The prosecutor’s office said one person, a security guard who failed to open the doors, remained under arrest, while three others, including a local official, were placed under house arrest.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the suspects face up to eight years in prison for official negligence leading to the death of one person.
The situation is also critical for people who don’t live close to a shelter, like Ranva, who lives with her children and a small dog in an apartment away from central Kiev.
During air raids, his family usually takes refuge in the corridors of their apartment. “If the windows are hit, we’ll be protected by glass. But if a ballistic rocket, it will be fatal.”
Thousands of volunteers inspect shelters
Also on Saturday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said city authorities had received “more than a thousand” complaints about closed, dilapidated or insufficient bomb shelters within a day of launching an online feedback service.
In a Telegram update, Klitschko reported that “nearly half” of the complaints were about blocked facilities, while about a quarter were about their poor state. About 250 Kiev residents have written to complain about the lack of shelters nearby.
The Interior Ministry said more than 5,300 volunteers, including emergency workers, police officers and local officials, would continue to inspect shelters across Ukraine.