KHOMUTYNTSI, Ukraine — Their decision to go to the bomb shelter proved prescient.
Because when they awoke Saturday morning, part of Oleksii and Mariia Morozov’s apartment building had been destroyed after a night of explosions and gun battles in the streets of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
It was “devastating news,” Oleksii, 45, told NBC News in a video call, adding that he “never even thought that something could happen here in Kyiv, in the country’s capital city, in the 21st century.”
Their high-rise building in the city’s southwest Solomianskiy district now stands with a gaping hole on its right side, pictures show.
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine said that two people had been killed in the strike and six people seriously injured.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that the building was struck by a Russian missile. NBC News has not been able to verify this. Russia denied it has been targeting civilians.
The family has not been allowed to return home, as authorities in the city banned residents from entering the building, saying they feared it may collapse.
Instead Morozov, who runs a cheese company, said he had to rely on pictures to assess the damage.
The bedroom where his sons, Yurii, 12, and Mykola, 8, slept appeared to have been destroyed, he said.
He added that he and Mariia, 44, would stay in the bomb shelter tonight, along with their sons and daughter, Kateryna, 20.
The bomb shelter was built in Soviet times in the basement of the boys’ school, he said.
The children had brought toys and books with them to the shelter but were too frightened now to play, Morozov said.
“They just want to sit near their mother and me,” he added.
Like many families in the city, the Morozovs had hunkered down, listening to the gunfire and explosions rocking their country’s capital.
The exact progress of Russia’s advance was unclear, but on Saturday the Ukrainian government was still in control of Kyiv.
Despite widespread condemnation since its forces swept into Ukraine earlier this week, further attacks are expected.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has refused to leave the capital, despite saying he believes he is the number one target of the Russian attack. Instead he has been posting videos from the streets, urging his people to join him in defiance.
Kyiv’s Mayor, Vitali Klitschko, announced a 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew over the weekend, warning that anyone seen on the streets during that time would be considered an enemy combatant, owing to the presence of Russian sabotage and reconnaissance teams.
Morozov said it all still seems like a bad dream. “Today,” he said, “I wanted to wake up and see our previous life without any war, any missile attacks.”
Anastasiia Parafeniuk reported from Kyiv, Caroline Radnofsky from London and Rhoda Kwan from Melbourne, Australia.