Civilian infrastructure damaged in Kharkiv as Russians strike during countrywide air raid
Russian invaders regularly shell the Kharkiv Oblast (Photo:t.me/ihor_terekhov)
A ballistic missile attack by the Russian military damaged civilian infrastructure in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 15, amid a countrywide air raid alert triggered by Russian warplanes menacing the entire country.
The day’s first air raid alert began in Kyiv at 9.44 a.m. and quickly spread to the entire country. Soon, reports of artillery attacks on Sumy Oblast to the east started to come in, as well as warnings of threats of missile strikes on Zaporizhzhya, Kramatorsk, and Kharkiv.
“Attention! Residents of Kharkiv and the region, the invaders are striking again!” regional governor Oleh Synegubov wrote on Telegram as reports of missile launches from Russia’s neighboring Belgorod Oblast flashed across social media just after 10.00 a.m.
“Don’t ignore air raid alerts. Stay in shelters!” he added.
Then, at 10.17 a.m., there were reports that there had been a powerful blast had rocked the city, and within minutes pictures started circulating on social media showing a thick pall of black smoke over part of Kharkiv.
“Emergency crews are working at the scene,” Synegubov said in a post on Telegram after the missile impact.
“The scale of the destruction is being clarified.”
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov soon added that there had been no military or critical infrastructure was in the vicinity of the blast.
“Only residential buildings and civilian infrastructure (was there),” he said in a Telegram post.
“Windows were shattered (by the blast) in nearby houses. There was no information about casualties.”
Later, Terekhov clarified that a local boarding school had been damaged in the attack.
Russia regularly attacks Kharkiv and its surrounding oblast across the border from Belgorod Oblast. Towns and villages close to the border are subjected to artillery and mortar attacks, while the city of Kharkiv is frequently hit with S-300 air defense missiles, set to ground-attack, ballistic mode.
This makes the elderly air defense system’s missiles less accurate than when they are used to attack targets in the air.
Elsewhere around the country, there were reports of explosions in Odesa Oblast, with later reports that air defenses had shot down a Russian drone.
In the capital Kyiv, the air raid alert sounded when the take-off of a Russian MiG-31K fighter was detected in Belarus. The fighter is capable of carrying Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, which have a range sufficient to reach any part of Ukraine. As a result, when one takes to the air, it triggers a countrywide air raid alert.
The MiG-31K was then joined by two Tu-22M3 strategic bombers flying out of Shaikovka air base in Russia’s Kaluga Oblast, which were reported to beheading south across Russia’s Bryansk Oblast towards the Ukrainian border.
However, after approaching the Ukrainian border, the two bombers turned and flew back to base. Earlier, there had been reports of Russian warplanes being active in the east, but these two melted away.
The alert lasted for one hour and 41 minutes, until 11.25 a.m. There was a second countrywide air raid alert about an hour-and-a-half later, but this one only lasted for 18 minutes, and there were no reports of missile launches or shelling attacks.
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