Fifteen dead as Russia rains rockets on Kharkiv

  • Ukraine says Russians hit Kharkiv like they did Mariupol
  • Fire breaks out at an oil refinery in Russia
  • Putin will celebrate the day Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941

KYIV/KHARKIV, June 22 (Reuters) – Russian forces pounded Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and the surrounding countryside with rockets, killing at least 15 people, in what Kyiv called an attempt to force to withdraw resources from the main battlefield to protect civilians from attack.

In Russia, a fire engulfed an oil refinery just 8 km (5 miles) from the Ukrainian border. Russian news agency TASS quoted a local official as saying he was hit by a drone.

Russian strikes on Kharkiv, throughout Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday morning, were the worst in weeks in the region where life had returned to normal since Ukraine repelled Russian forces in a major counteroffensive on last month.

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“It was a bombardment by Russian troops. It was probably several rocket launchers. And that’s the impact of the missile, that’s the whole impact of the missile,” Kharkiv prosecutor Mikhailo Martosh told Reuters amid the ruins of cottages hit on Tuesday in a rural area on the outskirts of the city. town.

Medical workers carried the body of an elderly woman from the rubble of a burned-out garage and into a nearby van.

“She was 85. A child of war (World War II). She survived a war, but didn’t survive this one,” her grandson Mykyta said. “There’s nowhere to run. Especially Grandma herself, she didn’t want to go anywhere from here.”

Ukrainian authorities said 15 people were killed and 16 injured in shelling in the Kharkiv region on Tuesday, with reports of other casualties from strikes overnight and Wednesday morning.

“Russian forces are now hitting the city of Kharkiv in the same way they hit Mariupol before – with the aim of terrorizing the population,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address.

“And if they keep doing that, we’re going to have to react – and that’s a way of getting us to move our artillery,” he said. “The idea is to create a big problem to distract us and force us to divert troops. I think there will be an escalation.”

Kharkiv suffered punitive Russian bombardment for the first three months of the war, but has been largely spared since the Ukrainian counter-offensive more than a month ago.

The main battleground is now to the south in the Donbass region, which Moscow is trying to seize on behalf of its separatist proxies.

So far, Ukrainian forces in Donbass have largely withstood the Russian onslaught, with Moscow advancing only slowly despite deploying overwhelming artillery in some of Europe’s heaviest ground fighting since World War II. .

DRONE STRIKE

There was no immediate Ukrainian comment on the fire that engulfed Russia’s Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, located on the Russian side of the border with pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donbass territory.

Video footage posted to social media appeared to show a drone flying towards the refinery, before a large ball of flames and black smoke rose into the summer sky. The local emergency service, quoted by Interfax, said no one was injured and the fire had been extinguished. Read more

Ukraine generally does not comment on reports of attacks on Russian infrastructure near the border. In the past, he has called such incidents “karma” for Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Wednesday is marked in Russia and Ukraine as the “Day of Remembrance and Sorrow”, the anniversary of the day Hitler’s Germany attacked the Soviet Union. An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens died during World War II.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin was to lay flowers at a memorial flame for the dead. World War II plays a prominent role in Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine, which Putin calls a “special operation” to root out the “Nazis.”

Kyiv and the West view this as baseless justification for a war aimed at restoring Moscow’s dominance over its neighbor and destroying Ukraine’s identity as a distinct nation.

“Bombed at 4:30 a.m. Banned the word ‘war’. Blaming other countries for the assault. Psychiatrists of the future will examine: how after years of building a cult of World War II, Russia began to recreate bloody pages of history and Nazis step,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted.

“The name of the last chapter is known – tribunal.”

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Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi in Kharkiv, Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and Reuters offices Writing by Peter Graff Editing by Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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