Russian Drone Attack Kills 4 People and Wounds 12 in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s 2nd-Largest City

by Braxton Taylor

KYIV, Ukraine — A nighttime Russian attack using Iranian-designed drones killed four people and wounded 12 in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, local authorities said.

Shahed drones smashed into two apartment buildings in the city near the Russian border that has frequently been targeted during more than two years of war.

The Kremlin’s forces in recent months have stepped up their aerial barrages of Ukraine, hitting urban areas and the power grid. The about 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line is largely deadlocked, but Kyiv officials say they expect a large-scale Russian offensive in the summer.

Three first responders in Kharkiv were killed when Russia struck a multistory building twice in quick succession, local authorities said. Six people were wounded at that location. Another 14-story building was hit by a drone, killing a 69-year-old woman.

Ukrainian officials have previously accused Russia of targeting rescue workers by hitting residential buildings with two consecutive missiles — the first one to draw crews to the scene and the second one to wound or kill them. The tactic is called a “double tap” in military jargon. Russians used the same method in Syria’s civil war.

Other first responders have also been victims of the fighting. The World Health Organization said Thursday that ambulance workers and other health transport staff face a high risk of injury or death.

“Many emergency teams come under fire either on the way to a call or at their bases,” WHO said in a report.

“This is a horrifying pattern,” Dr. Emanuele Bruni, WHO’s incident manager in Ukraine, was quoted as saying in the report. “These attacks threaten their safety and further devastate communities that have been living under constant shelling for more than two years.”

Ukrainian soldiers shot down 11 of the 20 drones Russia launched against Ukraine during the night, the General Staff said.

Some 700,000 people in Kharkiv lost power last week after a massive missile attack hit the city’s thermal power plant. Repairs are ongoing.

“Each manifestation of Russian terror once again proves that the country-terrorist deserves only one thing — a tribunal,” Ukraine’s human rights chief, Dmytro Lubinets, said on Telegram in response to the attack.

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