Ukrainian towns and cities that are withstanding Russia’s attempts to conquer them are being hammered by artillery fire in response, according to local officials.
In the far east of the country, close to two breakaway pro-Russian statelets, the city of Rubizhne is under constant shelling, regional head Serhii Haidai said in a social media post.
“The enemy was unable to ‘blitzkrieg’ Rubizhne, so they are destroying the town, targeting hospitals, schools, and residential buildings,” Haidai said.
Emergency services and ambulances are often unable to reach the wounded, he said, due to the risk of coming under fire.
Two days ago, Haidai reported the deaths of 56 elderly care home residents in a town about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Rubizhne. The regional official said a Russian tank had opened fire on the building on March 11, but it had taken several days to confirm the fatalities due to the dangers of constant shelling.
Meanwhile, the head of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Syniehubov, said the city was shelled 84 times overnight, marking an increase in the rate of attacks on the city.
Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second largest city, sits close to the Russian border, and is a key target for Putin’s invading forces.
Syniehubov said city neighborhoods and outlying towns had come under fire from Derhachi to the northwest, through Saltivka and Tsyrkuny in the northeast, to the city’s huge tractor plant to the southeast.