The strike blew out or shattered windows and walls of buildings surrounding the massive central plaza, which was piled with debris and dust. Inside one building, pieces of plaster were strewn about and doors, ripped off their hinges, stood in the hallways.
“People are under the ruins, we have taken out bodies,” said Yevhen Vasylenko, representative of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Kharkiv region. In addition to the six killed, he said 20 were injured in the strike.
Regional administration head Oleh Sinehubov said at least 11 people had been killed and dozens more injured the previous day when the city was shelled on Monday.
One after another, explosions erupted in a residential area of Kharkiv in video verified by AP. In the background, a man begged a woman to leave and a woman cried.
Determined to keep life going despite the attacks, hospital workers moved a Kharkiv maternity hospital to a bomb shelter. Amid makeshift electrical outlets and mattresses stacked against the walls, pregnant women paced the crowded space, accompanied by the cries of dozens of newborn babies.
Russia’s objectives in striking the center of Kharkiv were not immediately clear. Western officials speculated that he was trying to draw in Ukrainian forces to defend the city while a larger Russian force surrounded Kiev. They believe Putin’s overall goal is to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a friend of it.