Berliner Tageblatt - Shelling kills ten in Ukraine region under Russian offensive

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Shelling kills ten in Ukraine region under Russian offensive
Shelling kills ten in Ukraine region under Russian offensive / Photo: © AFP/File

Shelling kills ten in Ukraine region under Russian offensive

Repeated Russian shelling on Ukraine's Kharkiv region on Sunday killed at least 10 civilians, said authorities in the border area facing a new Russian offensive.

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Russian forces since May 10 carried out a ground assault in the northeastern region, where they achieved their biggest territorial gains in a year-and-a-half.

Their progress had been stopped, Kyiv said -- a claim contradicted by Moscow.

"Five people were killed and 16 wounded, including an 8-year-old child" in Russian shelling on the outskirts of Kharkiv city, Interior Minister Igor Klymenko said.

"Among the injured are a police officer and a paramedic who arrived to help people and were injured as a result of a second strike."

One of the victims is a seven-months pregnant woman, the Kharkiv regional police said.

Russian forces had struck the same spot 20 minutes after police officers and medics had arrived at the scene, the police added.

Russia has been accused of using "double-tap" attacks, in which a second strike follows shortly after the first, increasing the chances of casualties among those responding to the initial incident.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to the strike, saying Russia used its weapons to "terrorise our cities and communities, to kill ordinary people".

Zelensky asked for "two Patriots for Kharkiv (which) will fundamentally change the situation", referring to the sophisticated US-made air defence system.

- Offensive in the Kharkiv region -

Shortly after, authorities reported another attack in the Kharkiv region.

"Five civilians were killed and nine injured as a result of shelling of Novoosynove and Kivsharivka villages with multiple rocket launchers," governor Oleg Synegubov said.

After launching increased aerial strikes, Russia carried out a ground assault in the border region on May 10.

It had mostly been under control from Ukrainian forces, which pushed back Moscow's troops that had occupied it between spring and fall 2022.

But Russian troops surged through defence lines on Friday, opening a new front with artillery and aircraft, forcing thousands to flee.

Ukrainian police and volunteers evacuated just over 1,000 people in the region, Synegubov said in the morning.

Synegubov said "the enemy's advance in the Kharkiv and Kupiansk directions has been stopped."

Russian troops advanced between five and 10 kilometres (three to six miles) along the northeastern border before being halted by Ukrainian forces, Zelensky said in an interview with AFP on Friday.

Ukraine's General Staff reported a "somewhat active" and "dynamic" situation around Kharkiv.

But the Russian defence ministry said Sunday its units "continue to advance into the depth of the enemy's defences".

- Russian refinery attacked -

Moscow said it shot down 61 Ukrainian drones overnight, most of them above the southern region of Krasnodar.

Six drones fell on the territory of the Slovyansk-on-Kuban refinery in the region and forced it to halt operations, its management and authorities said.

"There have been strikes. The plant is currently at a standstill. We are assessing the damage," Eduard Trutnev, the refinery head of security, told Interfax news agency.

The Slovyansk-on-Kuban refinery, in the Krasnodar region east of the Sea of Azov, is one of the biggest in southern Russia.

A Ukrainian defence source said its forces targeted the refinery and the Kushchyovsky military airfield.

"This is the second attack by (Ukraine's security service) drones on the Kushchyovsky military airfield and the Slovyansk refinery in the last three weeks," the source said.

Ukrainian air attacks targeted the border region of Belgorod and the Russian-occupied region of Kherson, where one person was killed when a drone hit a minibus of people going strawberry picking.