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TV tower in Kharkiv struck as Russia says captured village

Ukrainian forces targeting a Russian position in the Kharkiv region on Sunday
Ukrainian forces targeting a Russian position in the Kharkiv region on Sunday - Copyright POOL/AFP AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
Ukrainian forces targeting a Russian position in the Kharkiv region on Sunday - Copyright POOL/AFP AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

A major television tower was toppled in Ukraine’s war-battered city of Kharkiv on Monday after bombardments from Russia forces, as the country’s head of military intelligence warned the situation on the front lines would likely deteriorate in coming weeks.

An AFP journalist in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, saw the red-and-white spire of the 240-metre (800-foot) structure toppled after local officials reported a barrage by Russian forces.

Images circulating social media showed plumes of gray smoke billowing around the large antenna and its upper half careening to the ground following an apparent strike.

“The occupiers attacked a television infrastructure facility in Kharkiv,” the region’s governor Oleg Synyegubov announced on social media.

“The employees were in hiding during the alarm. There were no casualties,” he added, but television broadcasting had been disrupted.

The tower was last hit in the early days of the invasion, when Russian ground forces nearly captured the city, and Ukrainian officials have warned that Moscow is likely to push hard to gain more ground, likely including near Kharkiv, in the coming weeks.

Kharkiv has been shelled persistently since and the TV tower was struck in March 2022.

The apparent attack came hours after the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence said the situation was worsening at the front, and Russia announced the capture of Novomykhailivka, a village around 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from Vugledar, which Russian forces have been trying to capture.

– ‘Difficult situation’ –

Moscow’s forces have steadily been gaining ground in the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin has claimed as part of Russia. 

The claim of Novomykhailivka’s capture from the Russian defence ministry came just after the head of Ukrainian military intelligence warned that fighting for his country’s forces in the east would likely get much harder in the coming weeks.

Outgunned and outmanned Ukrainian forces have for months struggled to hold back Russian troops, who are expected to soon step up their offensive. 

“In our opinion, a rather difficult situation awaits us in the near future,” said Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

“But there will be problems starting from mid-May. I am talking about the front in particular,” he said in an interview with the BBC’s Ukrainian service.

But he added that while the situation would probably worsen for Ukrainian forces, the fighting would not become “catastrophic”.

“Armageddon will not happen,” he said.

– ‘Rethink strategy’ –

President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Moscow would try to score battlefield victories before May 9 — a patriotic Russian holiday celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany — “regardless of its losses”. 

Kyiv has for months struggled with a growing ammunition shortage but the situation is expected to improve in the coming weeks, with the United States House of Representatives approving Saturday a $61 billion package of military aid after months of deadlock.

A senior aide to the Ukrainian leader, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that the US package had given the war-exhausted country a morale boost and that he hoped the support would soon bring results on the front. 

“New supplies of ammunition and equipment will enable the Armed Forces to repel the Russian offensive, and give our allies time to rethink their strategy,” he said on social media.

Ukrainian officials in eastern and southern Ukraine said Monday that Russian attacks had wounded several people. 

In the southern city of Kherson, officials said Russian shelling wounded two people while the interior ministry said a man was wounded in Selydove, a town in the Donetsk region. 

Russia had announced that it made gains towards the town of Chasiv Yar, a key battleground now, also in the Donetsk region.

Taking control of Chasiv Yar’s strategic heights would open the road for Russia to other important towns in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. 

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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