Russian airborne troops landed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said, adding that there were immediate clashes.
“Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv…and attacked a local hospital,” the military said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app. “There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians.”
Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, has a population of around 1.4 million.
It has been a target for Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday which escalated on Tuesday.
According to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior, a fire broke out on Wednesday in the barracks of a flight school in the city following an airstrike.
“There are hardly any areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit,” he said in a statement on Telegram.
In Kherson on the Black Sea, where officials reported Russian checkpoints encircling the city on Tuesday, Russian forces took control of the train station and port overnight, the city’s mayor, Igor Kolykhayev, said. quoted by local media.
In Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, more than 100 people were injured on Tuesday in Russian fire, said the mayor of the city, Vadym Boychenko, quoted by Ukrainian media.
In Borodyanka, 50 kilometers from Kiev, Russian airstrikes destroyed two residential buildings on Tuesday, according to Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova, who shared a video of the partially crumbling gray buildings, with apartments in flames.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also said overnight that it feared an attack from Belarus.
“Belarusian troops have been placed on high alert and are concentrated in areas closest to the border with Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian intelligence services noted “significant activity” of aircraft in the border area, and convoys of vehicles carrying food and ammunition were observed there, according to the statement.
In view of these moves, Belarus “could probably support Russian invaders in the Russian-Ukrainian war in the future”, the ministry warned.
“Missile attacks against military and civilian targets” in Ukraine have been “systematically” launched from Belarusian territory since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the ministry added.