Zelensky says Russia’s Kharkiv attacks are war crimes,

Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of war crimes after it launched airstrikes on the country’s second city, Kharkiv.

At least 10 people were killed and 35 hurt when an opera house, a concert hall, and government offices were struck in Kharkiv’s Freedom Square on Tuesday.

Later, Ukraine’s military said Russian troops had parachuted into Kharkiv in an effort to capture the besieged city.

The military said there were immediate clashes after the paratroopers landed.

Earlier on Tuesday, the main TV tower in the capital Kyiv was also hit, knocking media off-air and killing five people.

Moscow warned residents near Kyiv’s military areas to leave their homes.

The explosion sent smoke billowing from the steel structure, but the tower remains standing.

A nearby memorial to victims of the Holocaust was damaged in the same strike. The Babyn Yar ravine is Europe’s largest mass grave of the Holocaust where more than 70,000 people, mostly Jews, were shot by the Nazis.

Mr. Zelensky said on Twitter that the attack was “history repeating…”.

“What is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?”

Satellite images reveal a huge Russian military convoy snaking towards Kyiv, amid fears of an all-out assault on the capital.

But a senior US defense official said there had been “no appreciable movement” by the 40-mile (64km) convoy on Tuesday.

There were indications that morale was flagging among Russian troops in general, and some units were surrendering, sometimes without a fight, the official added.

In a speech to the EU parliament by video link, Mr. Zelensky called on Europe to “prove you are with us, prove that you will not let us go”.

Later the parliament said it would look at a request by Ukraine for candidate status of the EU.

The Ukrainian president condemned the attacks on Kharkiv as “state terrorism on the part of Russia”.

Zelensky

Video footage showed a missile hitting the local government building and exploding, causing a massive fireball and blowing out windows of surrounding buildings. Freedom Square is the second-largest city-center square in Europe and a landmark of the city.

Residents of Kharkiv told the BBC they were living in “hell” because of apparent attacks on civilians.

Yulia, a married mother of three, said the Russians were targeting areas with no military infrastructure.

“They’ve been bombing… a residential area where tens of thousands of people live – mothers, children,” she said. “We have very many injured… This is hell.”

Another resident told the Newshour program she and her husband and children were living in a bomb shelter because they did not know where the shelling would strike next.

-BBC

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