Shelling kills four in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

KYIV   -   Russian shelling on the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday killed at least four civilians, said the governor of the region facing a new Russian offensive.  Russia launched an assault in the border region on May 10 after a surge in aerial strikes.

“We know about four civilians killed. At least eight people are wounded,” governor Oleg Synegubov said. Russian forces had “attacked the area where local residents were resting,” he added. Shelling hit the district of Malodanylivka in the northwest of Kharkiv city, the governor said.

Russia’s assault has brought its biggest territorial gains in a year-and-a-half. Russian troops advanced between five and 10 kilometres (three to six miles) along the northeastern border before being stopped by Ukrainian forces, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with AFP on Friday.

Shortly before the shelling was reported, Ukraine’s armed forces gave an update saying it had not detected “active operations in the Kharkiv sector”.

Ukrainian defence forces “are making every effort to strengthen their positions, replenish reserves, conduct reconnaissance and keep the enemy’s actions under fire control.”  But Ukraine is preparing for further waves of attacks.  Zelensky told AFP the Kharkiv operation may only be the “first wave” in a wider offensive.

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