“Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon,” said Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko in a Facebook post on Monday. “Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded,” he added.
The attacks occurred in areas that are predominantly Russian-speaking, which had been considered more friendly to Russia.
The attacks were “a war crime,” charged Kharkiv Regional State Administration head Oleh Synehubov in a Telegram post. “The Russian enemy is shelling entire residential areas of Kharkiv, where there is no critical infrastructure, where there are no positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that the Russians could aim at.”
As the shelling began, many Kharkiv residents were lining up in grocery stores and other shops to replenish supplies after being shut in for several days.
Russia targets densely populated Ukrainian areas
Journalists in Ukraine, have been increasingly reporting deadly Russian attacks in densely populated civilian areas.
“There are lots of pictures showing explosions and suggestions that rocket fire has been used, others that bombs have been dropped by the air,” according to a report from Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull. “And there are lots of flashes that indicate secondary explosions, and the use of cluster munitions in amongst all of that,” he noted.
In Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, supermarkets reopened and residents were allowed outside bomb shelters amid a relative lull.
Mariupol, a strategic Ukrainian port city that was founded by Greeks, was “hanging on,” according Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
— Ainara Tiefenthäler (@tiefenthaeler) February 28, 2022
Russian news agency Interfax reported that Russian troops advanced from the Ukrainian city of Kherson to Mykolaiv.
In a brief statement on the Telegram messaging app, Ukraine’s state communications service said a missile hit a residential building in the city of Chernihiv, near the border with Belarus.
Ukraine’s state energy company Energoatom dismissed claims by Russia that its troops had taken control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as fake news. “Currently, all four nuclear power plants are under the control of Ukraine and are operating normally,” it stated to the press.
Kharkiv, Ukraine resists Russian invasion
The deaths in Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city, came a day after the Ukrainian troops repelled a significant Russian attack on the city on Sunday.
Videos on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across the city of about 1.4 million people and a light vehicle burning on the street.
On Sunday, the regional governor, Oleh Sinegubov, wrote on Facebook that Ukrainian forces had regained full control.
“Control over Kharkiv is completely ours!” Sinegubov exulted. “The armed forces, the police, and the defence forces are working, and the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy.”
One RU vehicle out! Good job, Kharkiv! pic.twitter.com/crivP0pmEh
— olexander scherba🇺🇦 (@olex_scherba) February 27, 2022
Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s northeast, near the separatist-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, is more than 400 km (250 miles) from Kyiv.
The exact death toll of Ukraine’s Russian invasion is unclear, but the UN human rights chief said 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded – warning that figure was likely a vast undercount. In contrast, Ukraine’s interior ministry reported 352 total civilian deaths, including 14 children, on Sunday night.
More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, amid millions that have left their homes, the UN said on Monday.
Kharkiv, historic cultural and industrial hub
Kharkiv was founded in 1654 as Kharkiv fortress; after theoe humble beginnings, it grew to be a major center of industry, trade and Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire.
It was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, from December 1919 to January 1934, after which the capital relocated to Kyiv.
Presently, Kharkiv is a major cultural, scientific, educational, transport and industrial center of Ukraine, with numerous museums, theaters and libraries, including the Annunciation and Dormition Cathedrals, the Derzhprom building in Freedom Square, and the National University of Kharkiv.