Ukraine investigates civilian injuries, battles rage in Kharkiv region

By Thomson Reuters May 18, 2024 | 12:21 PM

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian prosecutors said they were investigating attacks on civilians in two cities in the northeastern region of Kharkiv and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported successes by troops fighting a fresh Russian assault there on Saturday.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address that Ukrainian forces had grown in confidence, particularly in Kharkiv region.

However, Russia’s defence ministry said its forces captured the village of Starytsia in the Kharkiv region on Saturday, eight days after a new Russian push in the area began.

“The occupier is losing its infantry and equipment, a tangible loss, even though, just as in 2022, it was counting on a quick advance on our land,” Zelenskiy said, referring to Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.

In the eastern Donetsk region around Chasiv Yar, a city seen as a key target in Russia’s campaign, Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces had repelled a Russian assault. “Our soldiers destroyed more than 20 units of the occupier’s armored vehicles,” he said.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Ukrainian prosecutors said they were investigating an air strike on a residential area of the regional capital Kharkiv in which five people were wounded, including a 13-year-old girl and a male youth of 16.

In the city of Vovchansk, the regional prosecutor said Russian shelling killed a 60-year-old woman and injured three other civilians.

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians but thousands have been killed and injured since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Elaine Monaghan; editing by Giles Elgood)