KYIV (AFP) – Russian airborne forces arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s eastern city, on Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian army, with immediate confrontations.
“Russian airborne forces landed in Kharkiv and targeted a local hospital,” the army claimed in a Telegram post. “A battle between the invaders and the Ukrainians is occurring.”
Kharkiv, a predominantly Russian-speaking city on the Russian border, with a population of around 1.4 million people.
Since President Vladimir Putin started an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, it has been a target for Russian forces, which increased on Tuesday.
According to Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian Interior Minister’s assistant, a fire broke out in the barracks of a flying school in the city on Wednesday as a result of an airstrike.
“There are practically no locations left in Kharkiv where an artillery round has not yet hit,” he said in a Telegram post.
Russian military took control of the train station and the port overnight in Kherson, on the Black Sea, where officials had reported Russian checkpoints around the city on Tuesday, according to city mayor Igor Kolykhayev, who was quoted by local media.
More than a hundred persons were injured in Russian fire in Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, according to the mayor of the city, Vadym Boychenko, as cited by Ukrainian media.
Russian airstrikes damaged two residential buildings in Borodyanka, 50 kilometres from Kyiv, according to Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister Emine Dzhaparova, who tweeted a video of the grey buildings partially in ruins, with apartments in fire.
Overnight, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense indicated it was concerned about a Belarusian strike.
“Belarusian forces have been placed on high alert and are concentrating in locations near the Ukrainian border,” the ministry said in a Facebook statement.
Ukrainian intelligence detected “substantial activity” of planes in the border region during the day on Tuesday, and convoys of trucks transporting food and weapons were seen there, according to the statement.
Belarus “may definitely back the Russian invaders in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the future” as a result of these moves, the ministry said.
Since the beginning of the Russian incursion on February 24, “missile assaults against military and civilian targets” in Ukraine have been “systematically” launched from Belarusian territory, according to the ministry.