The Wall Street Journal reports:
In the days since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, shelling and airstrikes have killed hundreds of people in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million about 20 miles from the Russian border. Residents spend their days and nights huddled in the subway. Above them, explosions devastate their city.
At least 400 high-rise apartment buildings have been hit, Kharkiv city authorities said. Strikes have damaged the art museum, with its collection of famous Russian painters including Repin and Shishkin, and the Korolenko library, which houses priceless manuscripts.
“Everyone is in shock here,” said Ihor Terekhov, the city mayor. “We used to think of the Russians as our brothers. Even in our worst nightmares, we never imagined that they would destroy our city.”
Russia’s attempt to use rapid thrusts by armored columns and assaults by paratroopers and special forces to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and other cities, overthrowing the country’s government, has stalled in the face of fierce resistance. Now, Moscow is resorting to a punishing, wholesale destruction, shelling and bombing residential neighborhoods and historic downtowns.
Kharkiv has been pulverized with particular cruelty, even though almost all of its citizens are Russian-speakers, many of whom felt affinity with Russia in the past. [Continue reading…]