Boy and grandmother killed and dozens hurt as Russian rocket strikes Kharkiv

Emergency workers consider the structure of the building after the attack (AP Photo/Alex Babenko)
Emergency workers consider the structure of the building after the attack (AP Photo/Alex Babenko)

A Russian missile strike killed a 10-year-old boy and his grandmother and injured dozens of other people on Friday in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, officials said.

The strike came a day after a strike in the same region killed at least 51 civilians in one of the deadliest attacks of the war in months.

Associated Press reporters saw emergency crews pulling the boy’s body from the rubble of a building after the early morning attack. He was wearing pyjamas with a Spider-Man design.

The attack also killed the boy’s grandmother and injured an 11-month-old child, interior minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram.

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Emergency workers consider the structure of the building after the attack (AP Photo/Alex Babenko)

Regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said 30 people were wounded and rescue operations were continuing.

The explosion left a crater in a city street, just metres away from an apartment building. Debris and rubble littered the street. Surrounding buildings were blackened by the blast, which shattered windows and damaged parked cars.

Yevhen Shevchenko, a resident of a nearby nine-storey building, said he was in bed when the attack occurred. “There was a blast wave, a powerful explosion. It blew out the windows and doors in the apartment,” he said.

The Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office said the boy was killed as a result of the attack, which injured 23 people.

A day earlier, a Russian rocket blast turned a village cafe and store in Hroza, a village in eastern Ukraine to rubble, killing at least 51 civilians, according to Ukrainian officials.

About 60 people, including children, were attending a wake at the cafe when the missile hit, the officials said.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, attending a summit of about 50 European leaders in Spain to rally support from Ukraine’s allies, called the strike as a “demonstrably brutal Russian crime” and “a completely deliberate act of terrorism”.

His visit to the summit aimed to secure more military aid, among other goals, and Zelenskyy said late on Thursday that his efforts had produced results.

“We will have more air defence systems,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “There will be more long-range weapons.”

The air defence systems are crucial as Ukrainian officials try to prevent attacks like the ones in Kharkiv and amid fears Moscow will resume concerted attacks on power facilities during the winter, in a repeat of its tactics last year when it tried to break Ukrainians’ spirit by denying them electricity.

Mr Zelensky is also fighting against signs that Western support for his country’s war effort could be flagging.

Concerns over the resupply of Ukraine’s armed forces have deepened amid political turmoil in the United States and warnings that Europe’s ammunition and military hardware stocks are running low.