Kyiv: Russian airborne troops landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Wednesday, the Ukrainian army said, adding that clashes erupted immediately.
“Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv… and attacked a local hospital,” the army said in a statement on messaging app Telegram. “There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians.”
Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of around 1.4 million.
It has been a target for Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday and which intensified on Tuesday.
According to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, a fire broke out on Wednesday in the barracks of a flight school in the city following an airstrike.
“Practically there are no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Telegram.
In Kherson on the Black Sea, officials reported Tuesday that Russian checkpoints surrounded the city and that Russian troops took control of the train station and port overnight, local media quoted the city’s mayor, Igor Koreyhaev, as saying .
More than a hundred people were injured in the Russian fire on Tuesday in Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, Ukrainian media quoted the city’s mayor, Vadim Boychenko, as saying.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova shared a video showing the grey building partially destroyed and the apartment on fire.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry also said overnight that it was concerned about an attack from Belarus.
“Belarusian troops have been put on high alert and are concentrated in areas closest to the border with Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.
During the day on Tuesday, Ukrainian intelligence noted “significant activity” of aircraft in the border area, and convoys of vehicles carrying food and ammunition were observed there, the statement said.
In view of these movements, Belarus “could probably support the Russian invaders in the Russian-Ukrainian war in the future”, warned the ministry.
“Missile attacks against military and civilian targets” in Ukraine have been “systematically” launched from Belarusian territory since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the ministry added.