KYIV/KHARKIV (Reuters) – Russian forces pounded Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv and surrounding countryside with rockets, killing at least 15 people, in what Kyiv called a bid to force it to pull resources from the main battlefield to protect civilians from attack.
Inside Russia, a fire tore through an oil refinery just 8 km (5 miles) from the Ukrainian border. Russia’s TASS news agency quoted a local official as saying it had been struck by a drone.
Wednesday is marked in both Russia and Ukraine as the “Day of Remembrance and Sorrow”, anniversary of the day when Hitler’s Germany attacked the Soviet Union. An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens died in World War Two.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin was expected to lay flowers at a memorial flame for the dead. World War Two plays a prominent role in Russian propaganda over the Ukraine invasion, which Putin calls a “special operation” to root out “Nazis”.
The Russian strikes on Kharkiv, throughout Tuesday and continuing on Wednesday morning, were the worst for weeks in the area where normal life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Russian forces back in a major counter-offensive last month.
“It was shelling by Russian troops. It was probably multiple rocket launchers. …read more