Russian airstrikes kill two and injure dozens in Kharkiv, Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine War News

Local authorities say two missiles hit a hardware hypermarket as part of the renewed Russian assault on the eastern Ukrainian city.

At least two people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in two separate Russian airstrikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian authorities said, as Moscow steps up its offensive in the northeast.

Two Russian missiles hit a hardware hypermarket where about 200 people were believed to have been in the first attack on Saturday, Oleh Syniehubov, Kharkiv regional governor, said on his Telegram channel.

At least 33 people were injured, Syniehubov said, adding that the two people killed were employees of the store and that the fire caused by the explosion was now under control.

In another message on social media, the city’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said four people were missing.

“This attack on Kharkiv is another manifestation of Russian madness,” said Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reacting to news of the attack. He noted that the target was not military infrastructure, but one of the city’s largest shopping centers.

Russia has repeatedly stated that it does not attack civilian infrastructure. However, figures from the United Nations, Ukrainian officials and aid groups have reported tens of thousands of civilian casualties since the start of the Russian invasion more than two years ago.

“I was at my workplace. I heard the first blow and… my colleague and I fell to the ground. There was the second impact and we were covered in debris. Then we started crawling towards higher ground,” he told Reuters news agency Dmytro Syrotenko, who had a large cut on his face.

Terekhov said a second Russian attack took place in the city center, wounding at least 11 people.

Rescuers take cover following the announcement of a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv, as smoke rises from the site of a home goods shopping center that was hit by a Russian airstrike in Kharkiv, Ukraine (Valentyn Ogirenko /Reuters)

Saturday’s airstrikes on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city that lies about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Russian border, are the latest in a wave of near-daily attacks that began months ago as Russian forces advanced on the eastern front of the country. .

Most of the energy infrastructure has been severely damaged in the city, which is still home to around 1.3 million people.

Although it is still far from the city, if Russian forces were to take control of Kharkiv, it would test kyiv’s morale, said Al Jazeera’s John Holman, reporting from the Ukrainian capital.

“If they manage to get the people out and depopulate the city, that would be seen as a morale boost for Russia and a devastating blow for Ukraine,” Holman said.

The attacks on the city took place after Russian troops launched a cross-border assault on May 10 on the northeastern front of the Kharkiv region. This comes after President Vladimir Putin promised in March to establish a “buffer” zone in the region in what he calls a response to kyiv’s bombing of Russian border regions such as Belgorod. Russia frequently launches airstrikes against Ukraine from the Belgorod region.

That assault opened a new front in the war in what kyiv said was an effort to divert its outnumbered troops from the east, where the fiercest fighting is taking place.

In their respective messages, both Zelenskyy and Syniehubov took the opportunity to renew a request to the Western allies to send more air defense to protect the city.

“When we tell world leaders that Ukraine needs sufficient air defense protection, when we say that real determination is needed: to be allowed to protect the lives of our people in the most effective way,” the president said.

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