April 16, 2024

Ukrainian officials say wave of Shahed drone strikes on border city injured at least 12 people.

Rescue workers were among at least four people killed in Russian strikes on residential buildings in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials say.

Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov said on Thursday in a message on the Telegram app that 12 people were injured in the attacks on the buildings that had previously been bombed in a “densely populated district of Kharkiv”.

Three of the dead were rescuers who had arrived at the scene to deal with the aftermath of the earlier strikes, the Kyiv Post reported.

Kharkiv, the capital of the region of the same name, lies just 30km (19 miles) from the border with Russia and has come under frequent bombardment since Moscow launched its invasion in February 2022.

Images posted on social media showed partly destroyed residential buildings as well as an ambulance and a fire truck that were also damaged in the strikes.

Kharkiv’s Governor Oleg Synegubov said there were at least 15 drone attacks on Ukraine’s second-largest city overnight, but some of them were downed.

He said Iranian-made Shahed drones were used.

One of those injured was a nurse caught in a later, secondary blast, Synehubov added. A 69-year-old woman was killed when a 14-storey building was hit.

Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in the 25-month-old war in which it is focusing on capturing eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

‘Critical zero’

Last week, Russian forces used an aerial bomb on the city, killing one person. A missile attack on an industrial area earlier in the month killed five people.

Terekhov warned some city districts could be hit by power cuts. Russia in recent weeks has intensified its attacks on electricity and other infrastructure, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

Ukrainian officials have urged the country’s allies to supply more anti-aircraft defence systems, in particular modern US-made Patriot systems.

US military aid to Ukraine has been drying up, with a $60bn funding package currently stalled in Congress, amid fierce opposition from Republicans.

As the conflict grinds on, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday that the situation between Moscow and NATO was “predictably and deliberately” deteriorating.

All channels of dialogue between Moscow and the military alliance have been brought to a “critical zero” level by Washington and Brussels, he added in an interview with Russian state news agency RIA.

At the same time, he said, Russia had no intention to start military conflict with NATO or its members.

NATO foreign ministers are closing out their two-day meeting in Brussels on Thursday. On Wednesday, urged by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, they agreed to move towards guaranteeing long-term weapon deliveries to Ukraine. But proposals to establish a $107bn five-year fund met resistance from some quarters.

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