KHARKIV, UKRAINE (AP) – In the dust and debris – and the dead – in the central square of Kharkiv Ukrainians on (
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) – In the dust and rubble – and the dead – in the central square of Kharkiv on Tuesday, Ukrainians saw what could happen to other cities if they do not resist the Russian invasion in time.
Shortly after sunrise, a Russian military strike struck the center of Ukraine’s second largest city, severely damaging the symbolic building of the Soviet-era regional administration. The footage of the closed television shows a fireball covering the street in front of the building, and several cars continue to roll out of the smoke clubs.
“You can’t watch it without tears,” the witness said in a video of the consequences, checked by the Associated Press.
An emergency officer said the bodies of at least six people had been pulled from the rubble, and at least 20 more were injured. It was not immediately clear what type of weapon was used and how many people were killed, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said there were dozens of casualties.
Zelensky called the attack on the square “sincere, undisguised terror.” No one forgives. No one will forget. This attack on Kharkiv is a war crime. “
This was the first time that the Russian military struck the city center with a population of about 1.5 million people, whose residential neighborhoods have been under fire for several days. The Ukrainian Emergency Situations Service said it had put out 24 fires in and around Kharkiv caused by shelling and destroyed 69 explosive devices.
Also on Tuesday, the tent site in the central square, created to collect aid to Ukrainian volunteer fighters who rushed to the defense of Kharkiv, was damaged. In recent days, as part of these activities, the building of the regional administration was occupied by volunteer guards.
It was feared that some of the volunteers were among the dead.
Windows were smashed in the administration building. The ceilings collapsed. Concrete dust added another layer of gloomy, gray despair. Wrecked a car that was nearby.
As ambulance crews overcame the constipation, a new outrage erupted.
“It’s for those who were waiting for the Russian world, you wanted it, right? Many are injured, ”one said.
The Russian military denies targeting civilians, despite ample evidence of shelling of homes, schools and hospitals. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the military “is taking all measures to preserve the lives and security of civilians.” “I want to emphasize that strikes are inflicted only on military targets and only high-precision weapons are used.”
I am not convinced that one Kharkiv hospital moved the maternity hospital to a bomb shelter, and pregnant women are walking in the dark. The cries of dozens of newborns echoed off the thick concrete walls. Electrical cables hung. Folded mattresses were placed against the windows.
As the shelling intensified in Kharkiv, one family spent the fifth day in another shelter near the city. Bottles of water and backpacks were stored in the basement. A military-style helmet hung on the shelf, and under it the boy looked at the phone. Boredom mixed with fear.
“It’s a nightmare and it covers you very strongly from within. You can’t explain it in words, ”Katsyaryna Babenka’s mother said.
She could hardly believe that the Russian attack was taking place in Kharkiv and was tearing apart its surroundings.
“My friend, who lives in the suburbs of Horizon, a few hours ago was damaged in a neighboring house and destroyed several floors,” – said Babenko. “And for a while there was no connection with her. It was a terrible moment, very terrible. “
For her family and others who still took refuge in the city, the world upstairs was changing too fast to understand. Warehouses, houses, garages, cars burned down.
“Light, let’s go,” – called one man in a video showing the shelling of a residential area in Kharkov on Monday.
“Go, I’ll catch up with you,” – the woman.
“Go away, for God’s sake,” the man asked.
Other residents have already sailed west, hoping to leave Ukraine altogether.
Follow the coverage of the crisis in Ukraine in the AP at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.