As the world celebrated the arrival of the new year, Russia launched a series of missile and drone attacks on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
Ukrainian officials reported at least six missiles hitting the city, injuring 28 people, and causing damage to residential buildings, hotels, and medical facilities.
Tit-for-Tat Retaliation Amid Accusations:
Russia’s Defence Ministry claimed the attacks were in retaliation for Ukraine’s alleged air assault on the Russian city of Belgorod, just across the border.
The strikes targeted “decision-making centers” and military facilities in Kharkiv, marking an escalation in the ongoing conflict.
Civilian Casualties and Damaged Buildings:
Kharkiv’s regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, confirmed injuries to civilians, including two boys aged 14 and 16, as well as a security adviser for a team of German journalists.
The attacks caused fires and extensively damaged buildings, including a hotel with blown-out windows, as shown in images from the city.
Ukraine’s air force reported shooting down 21 out of 49 Russian drones launched overnight, with most aimed at the front line and regions including Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia. The attacks persisted through the night, further intensifying tensions.
Escalation Continues: Three Killed in Shelling:
In a separate incident, Russian forces shelled a village in the Kharkiv region near the front line, resulting in three fatalities, according to Syniehubov.
The strikes came amid heightened hostilities between the two nations following Russia’s air assault on Ukraine that claimed at least 31 civilian lives.
International Response and Ongoing Dialogue:
Amid the escalating conflict, U.S. President Joe Biden acknowledged speaking regularly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, with concerns growing over the humanitarian impact and the potential for further deterioration in the already strained relations between Russia and Ukraine.
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