Russian strikes on Ukraine's Kharkiv region kill at least 11

  • World
  • Sunday, 19 May 2024

Kharkiv, Ukraine May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

KHARKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -Russia struck a busy lakeside resort on the edge of Ukraine's second largest city on Sunday and attacked villages in the surrounding region, killing at least 11 people and wounding scores.

The missile strikes were the latest in what have been constant Russian attacks in recent weeks on the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, where Russian troops have launched an offensive.

Valentyna, 69, had blood running down her face at the lakeside resort area where her home had been destroyed and a busy restaurant nearby was obliterated. Her husband was killed near the lake, she said, gesturing to an area close to the shore that now was the site of a crater, rubble and corpses.

"To lose my husband, to lose my house, to lose everything in the world, it hurts, it hurts me," she shouted through tears "They (the Russians) are animals. Why do they need to kill people?"

Prosecutors said six people were killed there, one was missing and 27 were wounded. Rescuers said the initial strike was followed by a second strike around 20 minutes later, targeting emergency crews at the scene in a "double tap".

"There were never any soldiers here," said Yaroslav Trofimko, a police inspector who arrived after the first strike and was then caught up in the second. "It was a Sunday, people were supposed to be here to rest, children were supposed to he here, pregnant women resting, enjoying a normal way of life."

Another five people were killed and nine injured later in the day in two villages in Kupiansk district. Local Governor Oleh Syniehubov said Russian forces shelled two villages of the district with a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher.

Prosecutors said one person was killed in Russian shelling in Vovchansk, a town in Kharkiv region 5 km (three miles) inside the border at the centre of a Russian incursion launched just over a week ago. Three people were wounded.

Russian forces pushed their way into northern areas of Kharkiv region last week and the Russian military says they have captured at least 12 villages. Ukrainian shelling across the border injured 13 on Sunday in Russia's Belgorod region.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy again called on Western allies to supply Kyiv with additional air defence systems to protect Kharkiv and other cities.

"The world can stop Russian terror - and to do so, the lack of political will among leaders must be overcome," Zelenskiy said on Telegram.

"Two Patriots for Kharkiv will make a fundamental difference," he said, referring to Patriot missile defence systems. Air defence systems for other cities and sufficient support for soldiers on the front line would ensure Russia's defeat, the president added.

(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Writing by Pavel Polityuk;Editing by David Goodman, Frances Kerry, Ron Popeski and Leslie Adler)

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