Exclusive-Kharkiv mayor says striking Russia has helped to calm embattled city


  • World
  • Tuesday, 11 Jun 2024

A rescue member works at a site of a Russian air strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine June 10, 2024. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi/ File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ukraine's army has struck missile launch positions in Russia, helping to reduce the number of attacks on the embattled city of Kharkiv, its mayor told Reuters on Tuesday.

His comments came after U.S. President Joe Biden late last month approved the use of American weapons to strike targets inside Russia that were being used to attack Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city located close to the Russian border.

While missile and drone strikes continue, Ihor Terekhov said the change had helped bring relative "calm".

"This has helped," Terekhov said in an interview in Berlin, when asked whether the ability to strike inside Russia had alleviated the situation following weeks of heavy bombardment.

"That is why maybe Kharkiv has ... this period of ... calm the last couple of weeks ... that there were no great strikes as it was, for example, in May." He was speaking through a translator.

Terekhov is visiting a conference in Germany which aims to encourage European support and investment in Ukraine.

The mayor said that about 11,500 people had arrived in Kharkiv city from regions that were being actively bombarded.

Terekhov also stressed the need for Western air defences to help protect his city.

Ukraine has struggled to intercept incoming Russian drones and missiles because of the lack of systems to shoot them down. Kyiv's allies are scrambling to find more, but deliveries have been held up by political wrangling in Washington and the lack of availability of suitable weapons.

"It is very important to have the weapons on time. It is very important to have these weapons, especially the multi-defence air system."

Russia launched three guided bombs at Kharkiv on Monday, damaging at least two houses, according to local officials, underlining the continuing threat.

The city and surrounding region have long been targeted by Russian attacks but the strikes had become more intense in recent months, hitting civilian and energy infrastructure.

In recent months Moscow's forces have made slow but steady gains along several parts of the sprawling eastern front and are attempting to push deeper into the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The regional capital has been repeatedly hit by Russian bombs and missiles, including an attack on a printing works that killed seven people and another on a DIY hardware store in late May that killed at least 14.

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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