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23 Jun 2024 4:50
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  •   Home > News > International

    Ukraine's Kharkiv region facing another onslaught as Russia attempts to 'set conditions for a larger offensive'

    A "bright yellow spark" and then an explosion — residents of Kharkiv, just kilometres from the Russian border, are bracing for further onslaughts.

    As emergency workers arrived at the scene of yet another Russian air strike in Ukraine's Kharkiv this week, charred pages littered the rubble — thousands of burned books.

    The building, Vivat publishing house, was one of Ukraine's largest printing presses, printing both translated international bestsellers and Ukrainian authors.

    Now it has become the latest casualty in a series of attacks on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city.

    According to authorities, Russia launched about 15 missiles at the city and the nearby town of Liubotyn.

    Seven people were killed in the attack on Vivat, and more than a dozen others wounded.

    Kharkiv, considered a major target for the military in the early days of the invasion, is just 20 kilometres from the Russian border.

    The war reached the suburbs of the city in the early days of the invasion in 2022, before Ukrainian forces pushed back and Russia withdrew to the border. 

    In recent weeks, Russian troops have claimed villages nearby, in what experts say is a fresh effort to get within artillery range and an attempt to create a "buffer zone". 

    The Institute for the Study of War has said the fresh attacks on Kharkiv are likely meant to "set conditions for a larger offensive effort ... at a later date". 

    "The Russian military command likely envisioned that simultaneous offensive efforts towards Kharkiv City and along the current frontline in eastern Ukraine would stretch and overwhelm poorly-provisioned and undermanned Ukrainian forces," the institute said in its latest report.

    More than 10,300 people have been evacuated from the region in the past week, according to United Nations refugee agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo.

    "Relentless aerial attacks continue, prolonging an already dire situation," she said.

    "This could force many people to leave Kharkiv for safety and survival, seeking protection elsewhere."

    One day before the strike on the publishing house, another aerial strike damaged multiple apartment buildings, cafes and cars.

    There was a "bright yellow spark" and then an explosion, residents told Reuters.

    The blast blew out all the windows in one 12-storey high rise and a nearby bus, also injuring the driver, who had both legs amputated. Three others were hospitalised.

    "I was busy with my own things, I was working at my laptop ... glass shards started to fall," one resident said.

    "Thanks God, the window was covered by the curtain which held back the glass shards. Right after the explosion, I called my relatives to tell them what had happened."



    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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