Ukraine civilians trapped under rubble after Russia destroys Kharkiv hotel

Three people have been pulled from the rubble and one person remains trapped after Russia attacked a hotel in Kharkiv in the early hours of Tuesday, according to officials in Ukraine.

The three-storey hotel in the Bohodukhiv region in northeastern Ukraine has been destroyed, Kharkiv oblast governor Oleh Syniehubov said on his official Telegram channel.

“One person is currently under the rubble, three people were rescued; two women and a man. The store facade is also on fire,” the Ukrainian official said around 6.30am local time on Tuesday. A Kyiv Independent report described the people caught up in the attack as civilians.

The hotel is in the Zolochiv town of the oblast’s Bohodukhiv region, about 40km (24.8miles) from the city’s administrative centre.

Russian forces have repeatedly targeted the northeastern city, which is just 30km (18miles) from the Russian border, with missile, mortar and artillery attacks since the beginning of Putin’s invasion in February 2022.

The attacks have surged in the last few weeks and earlier this week, Russia fired artillery and mortar on 18 settlements in the oblast.

Former deputy chief of Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Russia is indiscriminately attacking the city to cause moral and psychological pressure.

“Kharkiv is their priority, because [Vladimir] Putin can’t forgive the fact that a Russian-speaking city did not want to become part of the Russian world, Lieutenant-General Ihor Romanenko told Al Jazeera.

At the end of January, a Russian missile attack tore through a residential five-storey building killing 10 people and injuring 60 others.

And Russia launched another massive attack on Kyiv and Kharkiv on 2 January, using hypersonic and cruise missiles. The attack killed four people and injured 92 others.

On Monday evening, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces confirmed a surge in Russian attacks along the war’s frontline.

“Within the last 24 hours, missile units launched attacks on one cluster of manpower, two control points and two ammunition storage points of the enemy. The enemy fired seven missiles and launched 25 airstrikes, as well as 52 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems,” it said.

Russian forces also tried to breach the Ukrainian defence in northeast Ukraine with at least eight attacks in the Kharkiv oblast on the Kupiansk. The attacks were repelled, the officials said.

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