Dozens of innocent civilians have been killed and hundreds were wounded after Russian rocket artillery opened fire on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city on Monday, while peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv continue at Belarus border, according to an interior ministry adviser. On Monday, rockets fired from Russian positions hit Kharkiv, with video showing an area around a big shopping mall buried in explosions.
Also, videos of explosions rocking the city, with many shells lying on streets in the middle of residential areas, circulating on social media. Kharkiv so far has seen some of the most intense combat in the war, with heavy casualties being reported on both sides.
Kharkiv Carpet Bombed
On Monday, Anton Herashchenko said in a Facebook post that several dozens of people died after Russia conducted massive air raids, bombing almost the entire city. The reports were also confirmed by Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection in a brief statement on the Telegram messaging app.
"Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads (rockets). Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded," he said.
Videos and photos on social media showed spent BM-21 Grad missile cartridges sitting in the streets and having crashed through apartment rooftops, as well as graphic images and video showed streets filled with the remains of dead and critically injured citizens.
Despite Ukrainian and Russian delegates meeting in Belarus for "peace negotiations," it is one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since the war began five days ago.
Videos also show skyscrapers being bombarded by Russian planes. According to reports, one shopping mall was completely destroyed in the bombing that killed several people. That said, Ukrainian forces have been putting up a great fight to resist the Russian onslaught and have taken hundreds of Russians prisoners.
Intense Fighting at Other Places
The additional casualties occurred in Kharkiv just a day after Ukrainian military successfully repelled a major Russian offensive on the city on Sunday. Russian cars were seen travelling across the metropolis of 1.4 million people in videos shared on Ukrainian media and social networks, as well as a light vehicle burning on the street.
Meanwhile, a missile struck a residential structure in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv near the Belarusian border, according to a Telegram message from the Ukrainian state communications service. However, the strategic port city of Mariupol was "hanging on", according to Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The carpet bombing on Kharkiv comes as peace talks between Ukraine and Russia continue at the border of Belarus. Observers have warned that the negotiations could pre-sage an uptick in conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces, as Putin progressively deploys heavy forces that were not present during the early fighting in an attempt to force a victory that has eluded him thus far.
So far, the mighty Ukrainian soldiers have held on to their position in Kyiv despite Russia's desperate attempt to bomb the city and seize control of the capital.
However, The Kremlin has ordered Russians in Kyiv to flee the city via a "safe route" to the south-west, raising fears that the capital would be attacked soon. Russia used similar tacticks in Syria while fighting with Bashar al-Assad before its forces bombed them.