Kharkiv’s regional administration head says Ukrainian forces are battling Russian troops within the streets of Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis, as Moscow stepped up its four-day army advance.
“The Russian enemy’s gentle automobiles broke into town of Kharkiv,” Oleg Sinegubov mentioned in a Fb publish, calling on residents to not depart shelters.
“The Ukrainian armed forces are eliminating the enemy.”
Movies posted on Ukrainian media and social networks confirmed Russian automobiles transferring throughout Kharkiv and a lightweight automobile burning on the road.
Maria Avdeeva, the Kharkiv-based analysis director on the European Professional Affiliation, advised Al Jazeera heavy shelling began late on Saturday and continued via the night time and into the morning.
“I’ve even heard the [sound] of weapons on the streets,” she mentioned on Sunday morning.
“What we all know now could be that Russia is coming into town in small teams, on lighter army automobiles, and they’re destroyed by the Ukrainian army. A few of the teams have been already destroyed, they tried to get near town centre and we see many photographs of the destroyed Russian army automobiles,” she added.
“The scenario may be very fluid and the Ukrainian army fights again fiercely, and there are additionally territorial defence items, and these individuals may also take part on this combat on the streets.”
Reporting from town of Dnipro, additional south, Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid mentioned Russian forces had additionally blown up a fuel pipeline north of Kharkiv as a part of efforts to wreck the nation’s infrastructure.
“From what we perceive, town is now surrounded from all sides by the Russians and it’s fairly tough additionally for civilians – those that are attempting to flee – to get out of there,” she added.
Kharkiv is in Ukraine’s northeast, close to the separatist-held areas of Luhansk and Donetsk, greater than 400km (practically 250 miles) from the capital, Kyiv, and about 40km (practically 25 miles) away from the Russian border.
“Lots of people who reside there are ethnically Russian, and it’s a metropolis that had proven help to Russia previously,” mentioned Abdel-Hamid. “There are plenty of business and familial hyperlinks between the 2 sides – and I believe the Russians have been fairly stunned to see that this metropolis, no matter all these hyperlinks, has really put up a combat and is resisting their advance,” she added.
Abdel-Hamid mentioned it was “by calculation” that the Russian forces eyed Kharkiv from the beginning of their offensive on Thursday.
“They wished to make use of Kharkiv as some form of a rear base, and from there perhaps head south in direction of right here Dnipro, which is a metropolis that the Russians want to take,” she added. Abdel-Hamid famous that when struggle broke out in jap Ukraine in 2014, Dnipro “was the headquarters of the Ukrainian army and it was from right here they have been launching the assaults to push again the separatists”.
Elsewhere, large explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, the place individuals hunkered down in houses, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.
Flames billowed into the sky earlier than daybreak from an oil depot close to an airbase in Vasylkiv, the place there was intense combating, in line with the city’s mayor. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s workplace mentioned one other explosion was on the civilian Zhuliany Airport.
On Saturday, 4 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin advised its troops to advance in Ukraine “from all instructions”.
Russian floor forces have pressed into Ukraine from the north, east and south however have encountered fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops, the depth of which has possible stunned Moscow, in line with Western sources.