Ukraine War: Two Killed, 33 Injured After Attack On Kharkiv Store

(MENAFN- IANS) Kiev, May 26 (IANS/DPA) The Russian military reportedly attacked a DIY store in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Saturday with at least one glide bomb, killing two and wounding at least 33, because it said Ukraine had hidden a weapons cache in the store.

"The tactic of human shields is being used in Kharkiv - they (the Ukrainians) have set up a military camp and a command post in a shopping centre, which was discovered by our intelligence service," the state agency TASS quoted an unnamed representative of the Russian leadership as saying.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack is "another manifestation of Russian madness".

"Only madmen like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin are capable of killing and terrorizing people in such a heinous way," the Ukrainian leader said in his daily video address on Saturday evening.

Local civil defence said at least two people died and 33 were injured. Zelensky said around 200 people were in the Epicentr home improvement store at the time of the attack.

Video shown on Ukrainian television showed large amounts of black smoke billowing from the store and spreading over Kharkiv.

The firefighting crew was shown fighting their way into the destroyed building.

Zelensky once again appealed to Ukraine's supporters for more air defence systems.

While he acknowledged that another Russian Su-25 fighter jet was shot down in the east of the country on Saturday, he said if Ukraine "had more adequate, more modern air defence systems and aircraft, the Russian air force would of course have collapsed long ago, just like its Black Sea fleet."

Earlier in the day Ukraine's State Investigation Bureau said it had launched a criminal investigation of 28 commanders over military failures at the start of Russia's recent offensive near Kharkiv.

The officers are accused of failing to properly organize the defence of Ukraine's border with Russia. The proceedings were entered into the official court register.

After the Russian attack in the area on May 10, the Ukrainian army had to evacuate its forward positions and several villages, with high losses of soldiers and materials.

The 28 officers under investigation are reportedly from the command level of the 125th Brigade, the 415th Rifle Battalion and the 23rd Mechanized Brigade and other units.

After the first retreat from the Russian offensive, the Ukrainian army command replaced the commanding general in the area. The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Syniehubov, had construction companies report to him about why fortifications were not built as ordered.

Ukrainian forces were only able to slow the Russian troop advance after days, though heavy fighting on the new front continued.

On Friday, Zelensky said the Ukrainian army had regained control in the area. Military experts say the new Russian attack is intended to tie up Ukrainian forces and push Russian artillery forward to within firing range of the major city of Kharkiv.



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