KYIV: Six people have been killed and at least 14 injured in a Russian missile attack that hit a postal distribution center in the war-devastated northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said.
“Russian missiles hit the Nova Poshta center — an ordinary civilian object,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the Telegram messaging app.
He posted a video showing s building with windows blown out and construction materials strewn about, with red trucks with Nova Poshta written in Ukrainian in front of it.
Oleh Synehubov, the governor of the broader Kharkiv region of which the city of Kharkiv is the administrative center, said several of the injured were in serious condition in hospital.
Those killed and injured were employees of the postal center, Synehubov said on Telegram. Police said the workers did not have time to run to the shelter, because the siren sounded a second before impact.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Russia. Both sides deny targeting civilians in the war that Russia launched against its neighbor in February 2022.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was devastated in the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Resistance in Avdiivka
Further south in the east, Ukraine has been trying to stop a new push by Russian forces to gain more territory there, amid Kyiv’s slow and gruelling counteroffensive that has continued for months.
Moscow’s drive to capture the town of Avdiivka encountered fierce resistance on Saturday, Ukraine’s military said, with defenses bolstered by fortifications erected nearly a decade ago.
“The enemy is becoming more active, but is incurring heavy losses,” General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of Ukraine’s troops in the south, said on Telegram.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, in its evening report, made no mention of Avdiivka, but reported strikes on areas outside Bakhmut, a town seized by Moscow’s forces in May after months of battles. Both towns are in the eastern Donetsk region.
Avdiivka, a watchword in Ukraine for resistance, has withstood enemy attacks for months. Video footage shows buildings in ruins and streets barely distinguishable.
The town was briefly captured in 2014 by Russian-backed separatists who seized large swathes of eastern Ukraine, but was retaken by Ukrainian forces who built solid fortifications.
“We have concrete fortifications ... outside the city,” military analyst Pavel Norozhnyi told national television. “(Russian forces) need heavy artillery and anti-tank missiles to destroy every stronghold.”
The Institute for the Study of War, a US think-tank, said Russian troops had “marginally advanced” near Avdiivka.