- Death toll in separate building strike rises to 19
- Ukraine expects hostilities to intensify
- Rescuers make voice contact with survivors under the rubble
- Residents tell of miraculous escapes
CHASIV YAR, Ukraine/KYIV, July 11 (Reuters) – Russian weapons pounded Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, killed at least three people on Monday, authorities said, while rescuers extracted survivors rubble from an earlier attack on a building that killed 19 people. people in another city.
Russian artillery, several rocket launchers and tanks also injured 31 people, including two children, in Kharkiv, the regional governor said. The Ukrainian president’s office said residential areas were affected.
In the southern town of Chasiv Yar, rescuers made voice contact with two people in the wreckage of the five-story building hit by a rocket on Saturday, and emergency services released video of workers pulling a man under the concrete debris, where up to two dozen people were trapped.
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The attack on Chasiv Yar was part of Russia’s push to seize the entire industrial Donbass region in the east, after declaring victory in Luhansk province earlier this month.
Kharkiv, in the northeast near the Russian border but outside Donbass, suffered heavy shelling in the early months of the war followed by a period of relative calm that has been shattered by renewed shelling in recent weeks .
The city’s mayor, Oleh Synehubov, said civilian infrastructure was hit by the latest strikes, including a commercial property and a tire repair shop. Read more
Moscow denies targeting civilians, but many Ukrainian towns and villages have been left in ruins by Russian bombardment since the Feb. 24 invasion, with basements and bomb shelters the only safe places for those remaining.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia had carried out 34 airstrikes since Saturday, while his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Moscow should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism for the bombing of Israel. apartment.
The dazed residents of Chasiv Yar who survived the attack collected their belongings and told stories of their escape.
“We ran to the basement, there were three shots, the first somewhere in the kitchen,” says a resident named Ludmila.
“There was lightning, we ran to the second entrance and then straight into the basement. We sat there all night.” Another survivor, named Venera, said she wanted to save her two kittens.
“I was thrown into the bathroom, it was chaos, I was in shock, all covered in blood,” she said, crying. “By the time I left the bathroom, the room was full of rubble, three floors collapsed. I never found the kittens.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the conflict a “special military operation” to demilitarize neighboring Ukraine and rid it of nationalists. Ukraine and its Western allies say Putin’s war is an imperial-style land grab and has accused his forces of war crimes.
Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II has killed thousands, left towns and villages in ruins and seen more than 6 million Ukrainians flee their country.
About half returned after Russia abandoned an early advance on the capital Kyiv in the face of fierce resistance reinforced by Western weapons.
WAVE OF BOMBARDMENTS
After taking Luhansk, Russian forces are now focusing on taking control of the neighboring province of Donetsk.
Ukraine’s general staff said on Monday that Russia had launched a wave of bombardments as it sought to take Donetsk, the other province of Donbass, partly controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
He said the widespread shelling amounted to preparations for an escalation of hostilities.
The US-based Institute for the Study of Warfare said Russian troops were regrouping and heavy artillery fire was aimed at establishing conditions for future ground advances by identifying Ukrainian weaknesses.
The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit ammunition depots in Ukraine’s central Dnipro region, used to supply rocket launchers and artillery weapons.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports.
Ukraine is preparing a counterattack in the south of the country where Russia seized territory at the start of the war.
On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk warned civilians in the Russian-occupied southern region of Kherson to urgently evacuate ahead of the offensive. She gave no time frame for action.
“I know for sure that there shouldn’t be women and children there, and they shouldn’t become human shields,” she told national television. Read more
Ukrainian forces have recaptured the village of Ivanivka in the Kherson region, a Ukrainian infantry brigade said on Monday.
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Reports from Reuters offices; written by Michael Perry and Frank Jack Daniel; edited by Stephen Coates and Mark Heinrich
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