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UPDATED: Russian 'double-tap' strike north of Kharkiv kills 7, including pregnant woman

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 19, 2024 1:09 PM 3 min read
The site of a Russian attack on the town of Mala Danylivka on May 16, 2024. (Telegram/Oleh Syniehubov)
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Editor's Note: The article was updated at 1:06 p.m. local time after Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported the death toll had risen once again.

Russian troops attacked a recreation center in a northern suburb of Kharkiv at around 11 a.m. local time, killing six civilians, including a pregnant woman, and wounding 27, the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office said on May 19.

Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov then said on May 20 that the casualties had risen to seven dead and 28 wounded after a man's body was found.

A man who was fishing near the site of the attack remains missing, but it is possible that the body discovered on May 20 was the missing man in question. The strike took place in Mala Danylivka, roughly 70 kilometers southwest of the fiercely contested Vovchansk.

"(Russian troops) attacked the area where local residents were resting," Syniehubov said in an earlier post on Telegram, condemning the attack. A paramedic was among the wounded, and an ambulance was damaged, he added.

In a later post on Telegram, Syniehubov said Russian forces had fired two Iskander ballistic missiles in a "double-tap" strike – a common Russian tactic in which a target is struck once and then again shortly after, the second strike deliberately targeting rescue workers.

Later in the afternoon, Syniehubov said a pregnant woman was among those killed and an eight-year-old girl among those injured. She was said to be in a "stable condition."

Two of the wounded are police officers, the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office later reported.

On the same day, five people were killed and nine injured in Russian strikes on villages in the Kupiansk district of Kharkiv Oblast.

In a post on X, President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned "Russian terror" and reiterated his calls for more air defense systems from Ukraine's allies.

"The world can put an end to Russian terror. To achieve this, the lack of political will among leaders must be overcome," he said.

"Two Patriots for Kharkiv will fundamentally change the situation. Air defense systems in our other cities, as well as sufficient support for our warriors on the frontlines, will ensure the defeat of Russian terror."

The city of Kharkiv was also under attack, but Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said all the hits were in the suburbs.

In a video address published on May 19, Syniehubov once again urged remaining residents in front-line areas to evacuate.

Moscow has intensified its attacks on Kharkiv in recent months, forcing many local residents living in and around the city to flee their hometown. The attacks have further spiked after Russia launched its new offensive in Kharkiv Oblast’s border areas, killing civilians and targeting energy infrastructure.

In April, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said that Russian attacks destroyed "almost all" of the critical energy infrastructure in Kharkiv.

The attacks destroyed a thermal power plant and all the electrical substations in Ukraine's second-biggest city, according to Terekhov.

A day earlier, six were wounded by a Russian KAB attack, Syniehubov said. The victims included two children aged 13 and 16, he added.

48 hours in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s most-bombed major city
The first signs that something ominous is happening in Kharkiv come as soon as the train from Kyiv reaches the suburbs of the city – as two pillars of smoke appear in the distance, every single phone in the carriage erupts with a piercing electronic squawking. “I guess we’ve arrived,
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