Russian airborne troops land in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, clashes erupt

Ukrainian army says immediate clashes have broken out on the streets of Ukraine’s second city after landing of Russian paratroopers.

A view shows the area near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv,
The area in central Kharkiv near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack on Tuesday [Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters]

The Ukrainian military says immediate clashes have erupted after Russian paratroopers landed in Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv on the seventh day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour.

“Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv … and attacked a local hospital,” the army said on Wednesday, in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

“There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians.”

According to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, a fire broke out on Wednesday in the barracks of a flight school in the city following an air raid.

“Practically there are no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit,” he said in a statement posted on Telegram.

The city’s governor, Oleg Synegubov, also said on Telegram that seven people were killed in an attack on a government building and that 24 people were wounded.

The reports could be independently confirmed. Russia says it is only targeting Ukraine’s military infrastructure, air defence and air forces with high-precision weapons.

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine MAP DAY 7
(Al Jazeera)

Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of about 1.4 million.

It has been a target for Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

On Monday, Ukraine’s defence ministry said dozens of residents including children were killed when a Russian strategic bomber fired 16 guided missiles towards a residential area in the city.

The following day, at least 10 people including a 21-year-old Indian medical student were killed by Russian shells.

The United Nations says at least 136 civilians – including 13 children – have been killed in the invasion, but that the real number of people is likely much higher.

“Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday after the attacks in Kharkiv and the deadly bombing of a TV tower in the capital, Kyiv.

In Kherson on the Black Sea, where officials had on Tuesday reported Russian checkpoints encircling the city, Russian forces took control of the railway station and the port overnight, Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev was quoted as saying by local media.

In Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, more than 100 people were injured on Tuesday in Russian fire, the mayor of the city, Vadym Boychenko was quoted as saying by Ukrainian media.

In Borodyanka, 50km (31 miles) from Kyiv, Russian air attacks destroyed two residential buildings on Tuesday, according to Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, who shared a video of the grey buildings partially in ruins, with apartments in flames.

During the day on Tuesday, Ukrainian intelligence noted “significant activity” of aircraft in the border area, and convoys of vehicles carrying food and ammunition were observed there, the statement said.

In view of these movements, Belarus “could probably support the Russian invaders in the Russian-Ukrainian war in the future”, warned the ministry.

“Missile attacks against military and civilian targets” in Ukraine have been “systematically” launched from Belarusian territory since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the ministry added.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said his country has no plans to join the fight.

Source: News Agencies