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Seven dead including three children after Russian drone strikes spark devstating ‘river of fire’ in Kharkiv

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A BRUTAL attack by Russian drones has resulted in apocalypse-like carnage across Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Three children, aged seven, four, and six months, were among seven people killed as fires erupted and at least 15 houses were destroyed.

Russian drone strikes spark disaster at a former recreation centre and hotel in Kharkiv

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Russian drone strikes spark disaster at a former recreation centre and hotel in KharkivCredit: East2West
Some 15 homes have been destroyed

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Some 15 homes have been destroyedCredit: East2West
A family was 'burned alive', held hostage by the fire inside their house

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A family was ‘burned alive’, held hostage by the fire inside their houseCredit: East2West

Vladimir Putin’s forces are understood to have struck a petrol station overnight, triggering a “river of fire” in the city of Kharkiv.

The three children and two adults were “burned alive” following the strikes, which involved Iranian-designed drones deployed by Russia.

Chief investigator Serhiy Bolvinov said the family of five was “held hostage by the fire inside their own house”.

He said: “The man’s body is in the corridor of the house, the mother and the children tried to save themselves in the bathroom.

Read more on the Ukraine war

“We do not yet know where the baby’s body is. The search is underway.”

Loved ones related to the victims have been asked for DNA to assist in identifying them.

More than 50 people were rescued from the flames of the savage Russian attack in the urban district of Nemyshlyanskyi in Kharkiv.

A witness, Andrii Kruglo, recalled: “Everything exploded and started running like a river. A burning river. I was covered in diesel fuel.

“It was running down the street and setting houses on fire. We tried to put the fire out, extinguished it with our hands, with snow, as much as we could.”

Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov claimed that Russia’s Iranian-made drones, “Shaheds”, struck a petrol station, causing burning fuel to spill out and set fire to dozens of homes.

Russia launches massive missile attack on Ukraine after Putin vowed ‘revenge’ hitting hospital, mall and homes

Three drones were used in the attack, according to regional prosecutor Oleksandr Filachkov.

He said: “As a result, an object of critical infrastructure was destroyed.

“There was a large amount of fuel, which is why the consequences of the fire were so terrible.”

It follows an attack last month involving strategic bombers and hypersonic Kinzhal missiles which left five people dead in Ukraine.

Russian air force planes flew over “safe” territory in the city of Zmiiv, also in Kharkiv, and launched a wave of missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets such as shopping centres and homes.

Twenty-four people including five children were wounded in the attacks, with the body of a 63-year-old woman found under the rubble of a house.

Kharkiv locals fear Ukraine is running low on air defences and is struggling to hold back on Russian attacks, particularly in the eastern part of the region.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, called on American lawmakers to deliver military aid to Ukraine as quickly as possible, telling Bloomberg that the war-torn country is “running out of equipment, especially missiles and interceptors.”

She added: “We need this support yesterday.”

Ukraine was recently revealed to be receiving its first big batch of 100-mile precision bombs, expected by US officials to be “a significant capability for Ukraine”.

An unnamed US official told Politico: “It gives them a deeper strike capability they haven’t had, it complements their long-range fire arsenal.

“It’s just an extra arrow in the quiver that’s gonna allow them to do more.”

Co-developed by Boeing and Saab, the weapon comprises a precision-guided 250lb bomb strapped to a rocket motor that can be fired from various ground launchers.

The new “glide-bomb” will allow Ukraine’s military to hit targets at twice the distance the country’s rockets can currently reach.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told The Sun in an exclusive interview in November that Ukraine was in desperate need of more air defence systems to shoot down Russian missiles and drones.

He insisted Ukraine would fight on, but warned victory would only be possible with the continued support of allies like the UK, Europe, and the US.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence confirmed in December that it would send 200 air defence missiles to Ukraine to help protect it from Russian drones and bombing.

The announcement came as Russia unleashed a sickening barrage of missiles on Ukraine which killed 28 people.

In what was believed to be the biggest aerial attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the bloody war, a total of 158 missiles and countless drone strikes hit homes, a maternity hospital, and a shopping mall.

The assault reportedly left 130 civilians wounded and was said to have been launched in revenge for Ukraine’s Boxing Day missile strike in Crimea.

A dozen houses have been incinerated to the ground

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A dozen houses have been incinerated to the groundCredit: East2West

The latest on the Ukraine war

AFTER almost two years, the war in Ukraine continues to rumble on as fears of an all-out World War Three between Russia and the West keep on going.

Since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost approximately 385,230 personnel, 6,310 tanks, and 11,757 armoured combat vehicles, Ukrainian army officials said.

Putin’s army also reportedly lost 9,195 artillery units, 974 multiple launch rocket systems, 663 air defence systems, 332 warplanes, and 324 helicopters.

The list goes on – 7,100 drones, 1,846 cruise missiles, 23 warships, 1 submarine, 12,231 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 1,452 units of special equipment.

As the tyrant is estimated to have seen more than 300,000 troops died since he declared war in February 2022.

Ukraine previously claimed to have sunk a Russian warship – with 50 sailors on board – using kamikaze sea drones.

Footage shared by Ukraine’s ministry of defence showed the dramatic moment its boats sped toward Putin’s £55million Black Sea missile ship “Ivanovets” and sent it up in flames.

In another major scalp for Ukraine, two of Putin’s most crucial spy planes worth £290million were shot down last month.

One of the Russian dictator’s £260million spy planes disappeared and a £30million bomber jet was set on fire after Ukrainian forces shot them out of the sky above the Azov Sea.

However, despite Ukraine’s success Russia has no plans to slow down in their assaults.

Earlier this month, Putin gathered 40,000 troops, 500 tanks and hundreds of howitzer artillery guns to unleash hell on Kupyansk.

On January 15, a leaked military report revealed Putin’s possible step-by-step plan to bring the West to the brink of World War 3.

The secret docs detail the despot’s possible “path to conflict” which reaches its climax in the summer of 2025 on “Day X” when half a million Nato and Russian soldiers will face each other.

According to reports, Putin is desperate to secure a significant victory before the rubber-stamp elections in March that are all but certain to secure his brutal reign over Russia until at least 2030.

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