By Vitalii Hnidyi
KHARKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Three civilians including an elderly woman were killed in Russian rocket attacks on Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region, a senior official said on Tuesday, while rescuers searched the rubble of a residential building hit in Kharkiv city centre.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is close to the Russian border and has been under constant shelling throughout the conflict.
A 73-woman was killed overnight when the house she was staying on the outskirts of the city was destroyed, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging service.
Two men were also killed in shelling in the village of Zolochiv, north of the city, he said.
A further rocket attack on Tuesday morning badly damaged a five-storey residential apartment building near the city centre.
Smoke spewed from the upper floors of the building, part of which was completely destroyed. At least two cars on the street in front were crushed by rubble.
“There was an explosion, and our house shook vigorously. Pieces of tiles hit my (grown-up) child’s back and the ceiling collapsed on my head,” Oksana Koshnyaryova told Reuters after being rescued from the building.
Rescuers were clearing rubble “as we can’t rule out that there are still people caught underneath,” Governor Synehubov said.
Air raid alerts were issued throughout Ukraine on Tuesday morning and authorities reported explosions in Dnipropetrovsk region, where a fuel depot was hit.
Russia, whose attacks have devastated Ukrainian towns and cities since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a special military operation, denies deliberately targeting civilians.
(Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi, Pavel Polityuk and Conor Humphries, Editing by Angus MacSwan and Frank Jack Daniel)