Russian air strikes on Kharkiv kill at least three and injure 60

Falling debris from intercepted missiles kill five and wound more than 100, say Russian occupation officials

A rescue worker with a dog searches for victims in a damaged apartment building after it was hit by a Russian air bomb in Kharkiv on Saturday. Photograph: Andrii Marienko/AP

Russian air strikes on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv killed at least three people and injured about 60 others over the weekend, as Russian occupation officials in Crimea said at least five people were killed and more than 100 wounded by falling debris when Ukrainian missiles were intercepted over the Black Sea peninsula.

Russia warplanes launched several guided bombs at Kharkiv on Saturday and Sunday, hitting residential districts of Ukraine’s second city, which is just 35km from the border between neighbours who have been at full-scale war since February 2022.

The United States and several European allies of Ukraine have recently given it public clearance to use most western-supplied weapons to strike military targets on Russian territory, which has forced Moscow’s troops to pull back some missile launchers from the border area near Kharkiv.

Ukraine cannot stop the guided bombs, however, which can be launched 60km from their target and can weigh 1.5 tonnes. Kyiv says only longer range weapons and the delivery of F-16 fighter jets will allow it to strike key Russian airbases and drive Moscow’s warplanes out of range of Kharkiv.


“Since the beginning of this June alone, Russians have used more than 2,400 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine already, about 700 of which were targeted at the Kharkiv region,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“Modern air defence systems for Ukraine… and the acceleration of training of our pilots for F-16s, and, most importantly, the sufficient range of our weapons are truly necessary,” he added.

“This Russian terror with guided aerial bombs must and can be stopped. Bold decisions from our partners are needed so that we can destroy Russian terrorists and Russian combat aircraft where they are… We need this determination [from allies].”

Russian officials in occupied Crimea, which the Kremlin illegally annexed after Ukraine’s pro-western revolution in 2014, said air defence systems shot down four of five Ukrainian missiles over the region on Sunday, and the fifth exploded in mid-air, scattering debris over beachgoers in the port city of Sevastopol.

Health ministry officials told Russian state media that three children were among five people killed and that about 120 people had been hurt, in what Russian defence officials said was a Ukrainian attack using US-supplied rockets carrying cluster munitions.

“The responsibility for the deliberate missile attack on civilians in Sevastopol lies primarily with Washington, which supplied these weapons to Ukraine, as well as the Kyiv regime, from whose territory this attack was launched. Such actions will not go unanswered,” Moscow’s defence ministry wrote on social media.

The Kyiv region surrounding Ukraine’s capital said two people were injured and dozens of buildings damaged in a Russian missile strike in the early hours of Sunday. Ukraine’s air force said two of three Russian cruise missiles were intercepted over the region.

The Ukrainian military said some Russian forces were withdrawing from border areas of the Kharkiv region after suffering heavy losses since launching a new offensive there in May, when Kyiv’s troops were enduring severe shortages of ammunition.

The resumption of US military aid, following protracted political wrangling over the issue in Washington, has now strengthened Ukraine’s hand, though heavy fighting continues in areas of the partly occupied eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia said it shot down at least 30 Ukrainian drones over its territory on Sunday, following drone attacks last week on several oil facilities in areas of western and southern Russia, where Ukraine now frequently targets energy infrastructure.

Ukraine says its air strikes destroyed a drone storage base in southern Russia and a military command post in the border region of Belgorod in recent days; Moscow did not confirm the claims.

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe