Russian forces double their attack in Kharkiv as Ukrainian reinforcements arrive in Sievierodonetsk

Russian forces continue rocket attacks on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and its surrounding landscape, killing at least 20 people in what Kyiv called an attempt to force the country to withdraw resources from the main battlefield to protect civilians from attack.

Inside Russia, a fire broke out through an oil refinery just 8 km from the Ukrainian border, after what the refinery described as a cross-border attack by two drones.

In the largest battlefield city of Sievierodonetsk, where Russia has claimed to have Ukrainian forces surrounded since last week, scenes filmed by a freelance journalist made it clear that the battle was not over, with Ukrainian troops able to supply their garrison by crossing a river in inflatable rafts.

The Russian attacks on Kharkiv – all Tuesday and continuing until Wednesday morning – were the worst in weeks in the area where normal life had returned since Ukraine pushed Russian forces back in a major counter-offensive last month.

“It was shelling Russian troops. It was probably more rocket fire. And that’s the missile hit, that’s the whole missile hit,” Kharkiv prosecutor Mikhailo Martosh told Reuters amid the ruins of huts hit Tuesday in a rural area on the outskirts of the city.

A man stands in front of apartment blocks in Ukraine
Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv and the surrounding area, has recently been the target of Russian rockets.(Reuters: Leah Millis)

World War II survivor killed by shelling

Medical personnel carried the body of an elderly woman out of the rubble of a burned-out garage and into a nearby van.

“There is nowhere to flee to. Especially Grandma herself, she would not go anywhere from here.”

Ukrainian authorities said 15 people were killed and 16 wounded on Tuesday in the Kharkiv region, and Regional Governor Oleh Sinegubov described shelling incidents on Wednesday morning that had killed at least five more people.

“And if they keep doing that, we’ll have to respond – and that’s a way to get us to move our artillery,” he said.

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