Kharkiv comes under heavy fire as Russians bomb city square and urban areas

NEW DELHI: On the sixth day of the invasion into Ukraine, the Russian military pounded the centre of Kharkiv very hard with unrelenting shelling of civic centres in urban areas of one of the largest cities in Ukraine. 

Russian missile bombed the regional administration building in Kharkiv in a direct airstrike hit after which it burst into flames, simultaneously Russia launched airstrikes targeting residential areas in and around the city reducing several areas into a pile of rubble. 

According to ground reports Russian planes have been bombing the city all night and through the morning on the historical centre of Kharkiv and residential areas in the downtown and the airstrikes have hit schools and hospitals. 

Reports suggest that significant damages were reported to the government buildings in Kharkiv's central square also known as the Independence Square also known as the Freedom Square due to the powerful explosions due to which glass windows and facades of all nearby buildings have broken. 

The square is known as the cultural capital of Ukraine and holds special significance for Ukrainians. It is the biggest square in Europe, much bigger than the Red Square in Moscow and is an architectural landmark where events like concerts, demonstrations, fairs, were a regular affair.

Beneath, two metro stations are located under the square, station Universitet of Saltivska line and Derzhprom of Oleksiivska line and several hundred people including students have taken shelter to escape the bombing of the buildings. 

Although there were no official casualty figures readily available local media reports are quoting that close to 25 people may be dead so far while a hundred others have been injured. A day ago, President Volodymyr Zelensky had said that 16 people were killed before Tuesday's attacks. 

Zelensky said, "This is terror against Ukraine. There were no military targets in the square, nor are they in those residential districts of Kharkiv which come under rocket artillery fire."

Zelensky earlier delivered an emotional address to the European Parliament, saying he was speaking amid a break in missile strikes and urged the bloc to accept Ukraine as a member. "Prove that you are with us," he said.

The United Nations has said that close to 600,000 people from across Ukraine have fled their homes to escape the invasion and this number is rapidly increasing and may touch one million very soon. The UN has also estimated that more than 130 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Thursday, including 13 children.


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