At least nine people have been killed and 37 injured after Russian forces launched multiple rocket strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in what appeared to mark a change in tactics by Moscow towards bombing civilian areas.
The city’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said the toll included the deaths of three children.
“Today we had a very difficult day. It showed us that it’s not just a war, this is a massacre of Ukrainian people,” Terekhov said on his Telegram account. “The missiles hit residential buildings, killing and injuring peaceful civilians. Kharkiv has not seen such damage for a very long time. And this is horrible.”
He said four people were killed when they emerged from a shelter to find water and a family of two adults and three children were burned alive in their car.
The video showed dozens of Grad missiles raining down on the centre of Ukraine’s second-biggest city, landing among residential buildings. One resident described the attack as “horrendous” and the worst yet, following five days of remorseless bombardment and Russia’s invasion.
The attack came despite a call between the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Vladimir Putin in which, according to the Elysée Palace, the Russian president had said he was “willing to commit” to ending attacks on civilians and civil infrastructure while peace talks in Belarus were underway.
Gruesome video footage showed the aftermath of one strike on the city’s central Klochkivska Street. A Grad missile landed outside number 197, blowing the leg off a woman who had gone shopping during a break in the curfew. She died soon afterwards.
“My brother’s colleague lives in the street. She saw what happened and heard the sound of the rocket. When she looked out from her balcony she saw the woman lying in agony, her leg blown off and to one side,” Artem Volodymyrovich, a 31-year-old English teacher, said.
The colleague – who declined to be named – took a photo from her balcony. It shows a patch of blood and the motor part of a Grad missile sticking out of the concrete pavement. A few stunned onlookers were taking pictures on their phones.
More videos and pictures are below: