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Deadly Russian strike on Ukraine’s Kharkiv DIY store, hundreds feared inside


Russia on Saturday bombed a hardware superstore in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, killing two and injuring 33, in an attack condemned as “vile” by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov said at least two people were killed and 33 injured when “two Russian guided bombs hit a construction hypermarket”.

“Two people were killed. They were men who worked in the hypermarket,” Synegubov said in a video posted on Telegram. “The number of wounded has gone up to 33 people,” he added in a later post.

Thick black smoke billowed from the gutted building of the Epitsentr DIY superstore as firefighters sprayed water on a blaze sparked by the strikes, an AFP video journalist saw.

The Epitsentr chain of hypermarkets sells household and DIY goods.

“As of now, we know that more than 200 people could have been inside the hypermarket,” Zelensky said on Telegram, condemning the daylight attack on an “obviously civilian” target.

Ukraine’s rescue service posted images of firefighters spraying water inside the blazing building with the roof torn open and debris strewn around. 

They said the fire was raging over an area of 10,000 square metres but that the firefighters managed to localise it.

The city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest, regularly comes under attack from Russian missiles, with strikes on the city killing at least seven people on Thursday.

The latest attack came after Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region on May 10. Ukraine said Friday that it had managed to halt Moscow’s progress and was counterattacking.

‘Brutal blow’ 

“Russia struck another brutal blow at our Kharkiv — at a construction hypermarket — on Saturday, right in the middle of the day,” Zelensky said.

“Only madmen like Putin are capable of killing and terrorising people in such a vile way,” he added, referring to the Russian president who ordered his troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

“There were a lot of workers and shoppers inside,” Zelensky said.

Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov said that according to the store’s owner, 15 store employees had not been in contact and approximately 200 people were in the building at the time of the strikes.

He described the attack as “pure terrorism”.

In the Kharkiv region, Russian troops mounted attacks Saturday in border areas.

Russia shelled the village of Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi, a railway hub in the Kharkiv region near the border, wounding five, the regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It said two vehicles came under fire: a car with two passengers and an ambulance with a driver, a paramedic and a 64-year-old patient.

Russia also carried out air strikes on the Kupiansk district, damaging a factory and residential buildings, the prosecutor’s office said.

In the eastern Donetsk region, shelling on Saturday killed a 40-year-old woman and wounded four, said the head of the regional administration, Vadym Filashkin.


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