Russia invades Ukraine, Kharkiv endures heavy shelling

Firefighters work to extinguish fire at an apartments building after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 17. (Andrew Marienko/AP)

The northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv endured another day of heavy shelling, according to regional officials.

Oleg Synegubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration, said on Telegram: “Today, in broad daylight, there were shellings of the central part of the city, the residential area of ​​Saltivka from MLRS [multiple rocket systems] and artillery. Unfortunately, 20 people were injured, 5 people were killed. Apartment buildings and other civilian infrastructure were damaged.”

Ihor Terekhov, the city’s mayor, said residential areas came under attack in the morning, and missiles were fired at the city center in the afternoon. He said dozens of buildings had been damaged, and the casualties included dead and wounded.

Terekhov said the Russians had not given up on “attempts to destroy the civilian population of Kharkiv, sow panic in the city and break our spirit. Still, the will of Kharkiv, the will of us Ukrainians, cannot be harmed by the enemy. Today, I was convinced of this when I saw how a medic covered a wounded woman during the shelling.”

Writing on his Telegram channel, Terekhov said Russian forces “continue to bombard the city furiously. Therefore, I urge you again, if possible, to stay in the shelter and metro stations.”

The State Emergency Services said on Sunday afternoon, “18 addresses in Kharkiv were hit as a result of enemy shelling in the central part of the city. Apartments on the fourth and fifth floors were on fire in a five-story building.” It said 160 firefighters and 33 units of equipment were involved in extinguishing the fires.

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Synegubov said despite the attacks, Ukrainian forces were pushing the Russians back to the east of the city. He claimed several villages had been liberated some 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the southeast of Kharkiv.

If true and if the Ukrainian gains east of Kharkiv are sustained, Russian efforts to resupply forces being gathered in eastern Ukraine for an offensive in Donbas might be hampered. Last week Ukrainian special forces destroyed a bridge on one resupply route south of Kharkiv.

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