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Russia bombs market in Kharkiv, killing at least four, wounding 40

A Ukrainian firefighter intervenes to extinguish a fire at a hardware superstore following a Russian strike in Kharkiv on Saturday.  (Sergey Bobok/AFP)
By David L. Stern Washington Post

KYIV – Russian bombs struck a commercial facility in Kharkiv on Saturday, killing at least four people and wounding 40, local officials said. The deadly attack on Ukraine’s second-largest city comes amid a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine and two days after a barrage of missiles killed seven people at a printing plant.

Around 4 p.m. local time, two glide bombs hit an Epicenter store – a home improvement and supplies chain similar to Home Depot in the United States. They were launched from Russia’s neighboring Belgorod region, Kharkiv’s regional prosecutor’s office said in a post on Telegram.

Glide bombs are Soviet-era bombs, sometimes weighing a half-ton, that are equipped with wings and guidance systems that allow them to fly long distances, and which Ukrainian air defense systems have difficulty intercepting. Saturday’s attack involved two UMPB D-30 bombs, the latest version of the weapon, the prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecutor’s office posted videos reportedly showing the facility being hit, and a fire raging after the strike, as well as extensive damage to the store. The Washington Post was unable to independently verify the footage.

Local emergency services said the fire was brought under control two hours later.

“Russia delivered another brutal blow to our Kharkiv – on a construction hypermarket – on Saturday, just in the middle of the day,” head of the regional administration Oleh Synyehubov wrote on Telegram, adding that some 200 people may have been inside at the time of the strike.

“Not a single military facility” was located near the store, Synyehubov wrote.

Roughly three hours later, a missile struck the center of the city, injuring 13, including a 13-year-old boy who is in “serious condition,” said the head of the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office, Oleksandr Filchakov, in a video on Telegram.

Kharkiv is located some 20 miles from the Russian border and has come under increasing attack since Russian forces launched an offensive in the region to push back Ukrainian troops and create a buffer zone next to western Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media that Saturday’s attack on Kharkiv was “another manifestation of Russian madness – there is simply no other way to call it.”

“Only madmen” like Russian President Vladimir Putin “are capable of killing and terrorizing people in such a vile way,” Zelenskyy said, repeating calls for Ukraine to receive additional air defense systems from its international partners to defend from the Kremlin’s air attacks.

“When we tell the world leaders that Ukraine needs sufficient air defense protection … we are talking about literally preventing such terrorist attacks,” Zelenskyy wrote.

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Anastacia Galouchka contributed to this report.