Disturbing photos and videos have emerged from Ukraine on Wednesday as the second-largest city of Kharkiv continued to endure relentless shelling on the seventh day since Russian forces invaded.
The air assault on overpopulated urban areas of Ukraine continued even as Moscow said it would be ready to resume talks aimed at stopping the new devastating war in Europe.
In Kharkiv, with a population of about 1.5 million, at least six people were killed when the region’s administrative building on Freedom Square was hit with what was believed to be a missile.
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The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said its consulate in Kharkiv, located in another large building on the square, was destroyed. The attack on the square — the nucleus of public life in the city — was seen by many Ukrainians as brazen evidence that the Russian invasion wasn’t just about hitting military targets.
The bombardment blew out windows and walls of buildings that ring the square, piled high with debris and dust. Inside one building, chunks of plaster were scattered, and doors lay across hallways.
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A Russian strike also damaged the regional police and intelligence headquarters in Kharkiv, according to the Ukrainian state emergency service. It said three people were wounded.
The strike blew off the roof of the police building and set the top floor on fire, and pieces of the five-story building were strewn across adjacent streets, according to videos and photos released by the emergency service, according to The .
The Washington Post reported that a fierce firefight also ensued in Kharviv to drive away Russian “sabotage and reconnaissance groups” from a military hospital.
As President Biden delivered his first State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced slowly on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital city of nearly 3 million people, in what the West feared was a bid by Russian President Vladimir Putin to topple the government and install a Kremlin-friendly regime.
Another Russian airstrike hit a residential area in the city of Zhytomyr.
Ukraine’s emergency services said Tuesday’s strike killed at least two people, burned three homes and broke the windows in a nearby hospital. About 85 miles west of Kyiv, Zhytomyr is the home of the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade, which may have been the intended target.
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So far, there have been at least 500 casualties and 136 confirmed dead.
Roughly 874,000 people have fled Ukraine and the U.N. refugee agency warned the number could cross the 1 million mark soon. Countless others have taken shelter underground.
The contributed to this report.