KYIV, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych tendered his resignation on Tuesday after causing a public outcry by suggesting a Russian missile that killed at least 44 people in the city of Dnipro had been shot down by Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gave no immediate public response to Arestovych’s offer to resign.
Rescuers were on Tuesday still searching for bodies in the rubble of a block of flats in Dnipro which the Ukrainian Air Force says was hit by a Russian Kh-22 missile on Saturday.
Hours after the missile strike, Arestovych, who appears regularly on YouTube to provide updates on the war, initially said it appeared that the Russian missile had fallen on the building after being shot down by Ukrainian air defences.
The comment, which
deviated from the official Ukrainian account,caused widespread anger in Ukraine. It was also noticed by Russian authorities who appeared to allude to him when they blamed Kyiv for the strike.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian attacks “do not strike residential buildings” and suggested the strike was the result of Ukrainian air defences, a conclusion he said had also been reached by “some representatives of the Ukrainian side.”
Arestovych later rowed back on his comments, citing fatigue, but also said he had made clear that he had been voicing only a preliminary theory.
On Tuesday morning, Arestovych posted a photograph of a letter tendering his resignation and acknowledged making a “fundamental error.”
“I offer my sincere apologies to the victims and their relatives, the residents of Dnipro and everyone who was deeply hurt by my prematurely erroneous version of the reason for the Russian missile striking a residential building,” he wrote.