Russian troops enter Ukraine’s 2nd largest city of Kharkiv
Street fighting broke out early Sunday in Kharkiv as Russian troops pushed into Ukraine’s second-largest city, according to a regional official, following a wave of attacks elsewhere targeting airfields and fuel facilities that appeared to mark a new phase of an invasion that has been slowed by fierce resistance.
The U.S. and EU responded with weapons and ammunition for the outnumbered Ukrainians and powerful sanctions intended to further isolate Moscow.
Russian troops approached Kharkiv, about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of the border with Russia, shortly after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.
But until Sunday, they remained on the outskirts of the city of 1.4 million without trying to enter while other forces rolled past, pressing their offensive deeper into Ukraine.
Early Sunday, Russian troops moved in and were engaged by Ukrainian forces, said Oleh Sinehubov, the head of the Kharkiv regional administration, who told civilians not to leave their homes. He gave no further details.
Videos posted on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across Kharkiv and a light vehicle burning on the street.
Elsewhere, huge explosions lit up the sky early Sunday south of the capital, Kyiv, where people hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale assault by Russian forces.
Flames billowed into the sky before dawn from an oil depot near an air base in Vasylkiv, where there has been intense fighting, according to the town’s mayor. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said another explosion was at the civilian Zhuliany airport.
Zelenskyy’s office also said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, prompting the government to warn people to protect themselves from the smoke by covering their windows with damp cloth or gauze.
“We will fight for as long as needed to liberate our country,” Zelenskyy vowed.