Artillery vehicle

Russian heavy artillery hits Kharkiv, Freedom Square in Ukraine

Russian troops are increasingly using artillery in residential areas of Kharkiv, where a Russian reconnaissance group was defeated days earlier.

Until Monday, Russian forces used heavy weapons to a limited extent in populated areas, but increased their use of artillery north of Kiev and around Kharkiv and Chernihiv. The use of heavy artillery in densely populated urban areas greatly increases the risk of civilian casualties.

Ukrainian authorities in Kharkiv said they expected even more shelling and artillery bombardment with the involvement of Russian aircraft. On Tuesday morning, the Russian army fired rockets at the Kharkiv regional administration building.

Freedom Square in Kharkiv, one of the largest squares in Europe, also came under fire. The city’s administrative building is located there. A video posted on social media showed that the volunteers’ tent in front of the administration was damaged.

“According to preliminary information, there is a bang in the building of the regional administration of Kharkiv state, the Opera House, the Philharmonic and part of the residential area,” the Emergency Service of the city said. State of Ukraine (SESU) in a statement. “The State Emergency Service cannot be involved in the work due to the shelling.”

At least 10 people were killed and 35 injured in rocket attacks by Russian forces on central Kharkiv, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said in a social media post.

“The rubble is being cleared away and there will be even more casualties and injuries,” he said. All residents of Kharkiv are asked not to leave the shelters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack an act of “undisguised terror”.

“No one will forgive. No one will forget,” he said.

Image: AFP / Daily Sabah – Büşra Öztürk

Oleg Sinigubov, head of the regional administration of Kharkiv state, reported that at night there was chaotic shelling in the region from all directions – Lipetsk, Belgorod, Chugev and others. Sinigubov said Russia launched GRADs and cruise missiles at Kharkiv and was guilty of war crimes. He said the city’s defenses were holding.

“During the day, the local fire brigade liquidated 24 fires caused by enemy shelling. Dozens of civilian cars burned, in the village of Rogan, a residential building caught fire as a result of shelling. One person was injured and one died,” Sinigubov said. “As a result of the shelling, eight people were injured and 35 people were evacuated along Koltsevaya Street. Houses were set on fire in Izyum and Kharkiv districts,” he added.

“Such attacks are a genocide of the Ukrainian people, a war crime against the civilian population! he said.

Some 24 fires caused by enemy shelling were extinguished in one day, including 19 in Kharkiv, SESU said. In addition, SESU pyrotechnic units carried out demining work: 69 explosive devices were neutralized.

According to the director of the American non-profit military research and analysis organization CNA, Michael Kofman, on Monday the Russian army was not doing what it was always taught.

“The Russian army, above all, relies on artillery, and so far in this war it has used only a part of the available firearms,” ​​he said. According to him, the Russian Ministry of Defense was trying to carry out “a full-scale invasion without a (real) military operation.”

Abandonment of this approach and increased use of artillery, including in populated areas, is inevitable, Kofman said.

Perhaps the bombardment of Kharkiv with the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is the first sign that the Russian military is ready to fight, “as it has been taught”, he added. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of casualties among the civilian population.

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