A Russian missile destroyed a dormitory that was home to older people and people with hearing impairments, according to Ukrainian officials. At least 10 civilians were killed and another 17 wounded, including an 11-year-old child.CreditCredit…Reuters
KYIV, Ukraine — Russia unleashed a furious barrage of rocket attacks on the northeastern city of Kharkiv overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning, destroying a dormitory for the deaf, pulverizing scores of residential homes and killing at least 15 civilians, Ukrainian officials said.
The civilian death toll in the city, which lies 25 miles from the Russian border, has now surpassed 1,000 over the course of the six-month war, according to local officials.
“Last night became one of the most tragic for Kharkiv Region during the entire war,” the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleh Syniehubov, said on Thursday morning. Rescue crews were still racing between multiple blast sites, he said, adding that the casualty count could grow.
The assaults began at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when a Russian cruise missile slammed into a dormitory that was home to older people and people with hearing impairments, according to Ukrainian officials. At least 10 civilians were killed and another 17 wounded, including an 11-year-old child.
Because some of those living in the building were deaf, Ukrainian officials said, they might not have heard the wail of the alarm warning of the incoming missile, or the shouts of firefighters calling out for survivors.
Video of the rescue efforts showed relatives of people inside one destroyed building screaming, crying and calling out for loved ones. “My grandmother is there,” one man shouts. There was no reply.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said it had struck a target in Kharkiv housing foreign mercenaries, but offered no evidence to support the claim.
At the wreckage of a building damaged by a rocket in Kharkiv. The civilian death toll in the city over the course of the six-month war has now surpassed 1,000, according to local officials.Credit…Vasiliy Zhlobsky/EPA, via Shutterstock
On Wednesday night, after the strike on the dormitory, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine denounced Russia for a “vile and cynical attack on civilians.” He said it was the latest evidence that Moscow, struggling on the battlefield, was targeting civilians to advance its ultimate goal of destroying the Ukrainian state.
A few hours after Mr. Zelensky spoke, a rocket slammed into the Krasnograd neighborhood of Kharkiv and more than 10 buildings were damaged, officials said. At least two civilians were killed and two others injured, including a 12-year-old child.
Around 4:30 a.m., eight more rockets were fired from the Russian city of Belgorod in the direction of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said, hitting buildings in at least two city districts. Two missiles hit a streetcar station. At least three civilians were killed and 18 more wounded, including two children, in those strikes, officials said.
Then later on Thursday, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod province, said on Telegram that a fire at an ammunition depot had prompted the evacuation of residents in the area. He said there were no casualties and the cause was under investigation.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been bombarded by a nearly constant stream of artillery, rockets and missiles since Moscow launched its invasion in February. Early in the war, Russian forces tried to surround and capture the city but failed, and were eventually pushed back across the border by Ukrainian forces.
Still, Ukrainian and Western military analysts say, the Kremlin has never given up on its goal of capturing the city. Lacking the ground forces to mount a sustained offensive, it has sought to pummel the city into submission.
Earlier on Wednesday, the mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said that the city’s ability to function despite the Russian attacks was one reason that Moscow continued to try to bring its residents to their knees.
“Russian troops shell Kharkiv with such hatred, with such aggressiveness. Such cynical destruction of the city occurs because Kharkiv does not give up,” he said. “Our task is to withstand.”
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