Russia strikes Ukraine’s Kharkiv with aerial bombs for the first time since 2022

An injured man evacuates his cat from a building hit by a Russian strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

An injured man evacuates his cat from a building hit by a Russian strike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia struck the northeastern city of Kharkiv with aerial bombs Wednesday for the first time since 2022, killing at least one civilian and wounding 16 others, local officials said.

The airstrikes caused widespread damage, hitting several residential buildings and damaging the city’s institute for emergency surgery.

Russia has escalated its attacks on Ukraine in recent days, launching several missile barrages on the capital Kyiv and hitting energy infrastructure across the country in apparent retaliation for recent Ukrainian aerial attacks on the Russian border region of Belgorod. Such sporadic attacks, however, have been common throughout the war.

The Kharkiv region cuts across the front line where Ukrainian and Russian forces have been locked in battles for over two years since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The region is frequently attacked with missiles and drones.

Sergey Bolvinov, head of the investigative police department in Kharkiv, said in a Telegram post that Wednesday’s attack marked the first time aerial bombs were used since 2022. Regional governor Oleh Syniehubov also reported the use of aerial bombs.

The recent escalation comes as exhausted Ukrainian troops struggle with a shortage of personnel and ammunition and face growing Russian pressure along the front line that stretches over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sacked one of his top security officials, replacing him with the head of Ukraine’s foreign spy agency in a new reshuffle.

Zelenskyy dismissed Oleksii Danilov, who served as secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, thanking him for his service in a video address late Tuesday. The president gave no reason and said, without providing details, that Danilov will be “reassigned to another area.”

Zelenskyy replaced him with Oleksandr Lytvynenko, who served as head of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service.

The National Security Council is a policy coordination body that is chaired by Zelenskyy. Danilov had held his position since October 2019, a few months after Zelenskyy took office.

The dismissal follows Zelenskyy’s decision in February to fire Ukraine’s chief military officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and replace him with Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi. Tensions between Zaluzhnyi and the president grew after Ukraine’s much-touted 2023 summer counteroffensive failed to reach its goals. This month, Zaluzhnyi was named Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom.


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