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Russia jolts Ukraine’s Kharkiv with strikes, claims fresh advances

Ukrainian firefighters work at a site of a Russian air strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 22, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia’s latest strikes have rocked Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, with Moscow claiming fresh advances on the frontline.

The barrage of more than a dozen projectiles killed at least seven people in the flashpoint region, authorities said on Thursday, almost a week after Russia launched a ground operation in the northeast border territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced the strikes as “brutal”, saying Russia was “taking advantage” of Ukraine’s lack of air defense systems and launches fatal attacks on towns and cities at his country’s border.

According to the regional governor, another 16 people were wounded in the strikes against Kharkiv, which is situated just dozens of kilometers from the border with Russia.

In a statement, Ukraine’s national railway operator said that the strikes had damaged civilian railway infrastructure in Kharkiv and the surrounding region, adding that six employees had also been wounded.

Ukraine, due to decreasing manpower and ammunition shortages, is struggling to fend off advancing Russian ground troops.  

The ground assault has already forced the evacuation of thousands of residents of the Kharkiv region, which has been under persistent shelling by Russia since it launched its “special military operation” in the ex-Soviet republic back in February 2022.

Moscow said Russian forces had managed to capture Andriivka in the industrial Donetsk region. Kiev had wrested control of the village and a few others in its lackluster counteroffensive last summer.

Ukraine has for months been repeatedly asking from the West for more military hardware, long-range missiles and advanced warplanes.

“No naming and shaming, but I once again urge countries that have Patriots to speed up decisions and provide these systems to Ukraine,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on social media, calling on the West to send seven Patriot systems.

“They are needed now, not tomorrow,” he said.

The United States and its Western allies have been providing huge military and financial support to Kiev since the onset of the war.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that any shipment containing weapons and ammunition for Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russia.

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