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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Seven Dead in Russian Strikes on Kharkiv as Kyiv Urges for Weapons

On Thursday, Russia launched missile strikes on Kharkiv, killing seven people in a printing house. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized his Western allies for insufficient military support to counter Russian attacks.

Moscow’s forces have relentlessly targeted the northeastern city for months and initiated a ground offensive in the region on May 10, which Kyiv reports has stalled on two fronts.

Authorities reported that around 15 missiles hit the city and the nearby town of Liubotyn, mainly targeting transport infrastructure and the large printing house in Kharkiv, where approximately 50 people were present during the strike. Smoke billowed from a massive hole in the building’s roof as exhausted rescue workers retrieved bodies in plastic bags. Charred book pages littered the ground.

“There are no military facilities here or nearby,” regional governor Oleh Syniehubov stated at the scene. Officials said the attacks injured another 28 people. The regional prosecutor’s office noted that the missiles were launched from Russia’s Belgorod region, which also served as the staging ground for the May 10 incursion.

The state railway company reported that six of its workers were injured as several of its facilities in Kharkiv and the surrounding region were also targeted. Additionally, Russian forces dropped guided bombs on the regional town of Derhachi, damaging private houses and wounding at least 13 people, according to officials.

‘NOT OUR WEAKNESS’

In a social media post, Zelenskiy faulted Kyiv’s international partners for not providing enough air defence systems or allowing Ukraine to use Western-provided weapons to strike missile launchers inside Russia.

“This weakness is not our weakness, but that of the world’s, which for the third year already has not dared to deal with the terrorists exactly as they deserve,” he said.

The Ukrainian leader’s rhetoric has grown increasingly frustrated as Kyiv’s outmanned and outgunned forces have struggled to fend off fierce Russian assaults along multiple parts of a more than 1,000-kilometre (620 mile) front line.

The new offensive thrust launched by Russian forces into the north of the Kharkiv region this month further stretched Ukraine’s troops, some of whom have been fighting since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine’s top commander said in a statement that Russia was now sending reserve forces to support its assault operations in the northern parts of the region after their troops had stalled on two main lines of attack.

Russian forces, said Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, were bogged down in street fighting in the border town of Vovchansk and had switched onto a defensive footing on the front near the village of Lyptsi.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, which lies some 30 km (18 miles) from the Russian border, has faced some of the most regular and heavy air assaults in recent months.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Zelenskiy called on Kyiv’s allies to step up their involvement in the war, including by shooting down Russian missiles over Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba echoed Zelenskiy’s plea for more air-defense systems on Thursday, saying Ukraine urgently needed more U.S.-made Patriot batteries.

“Unfortunately, mere words of solidarity do not intercept Russian missiles,” he wrote on X.

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