The Russian forces increased their reliance on the bombing tactic before the attacks, having been unable to break the Ukrainian resistance in the early days of the war.
As it continued to bombard residential areas, which it says contain fighters or weapons depots, it has tried to advance on several fronts, the most important of which is the Azium front, east of Kharkiv, and Sumy in the west, and thus it is trying to encircle the area in the north-east of the country and cut the supply lines from the two cities, thus bringing it down at the lowest possible cost. .
The Russian forces have suffered high losses so far, according to reports from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Western reports, especially British, say that the Russian forces have not yet succeeded in making any actual progress in these areas, and that controlling some cities, including the capital, Kyiv, may take weeks, and that the Russian forces are still trying to regroup and improve supply lines.
A Ukrainian elderly woman in a cramped room at the entrance to a building (Asharq Al-Awsat)
But on the ground, as every night, Kharkiv, especially its eastern and northern regions, sleeps and wakes up to the sound of explosions and missiles, and the exchange of fire between the Russian and Ukrainian armies. About half a million people live in the city, and government medical and food aid has become insufficient for this number of people. In the children’s hospital on Velika Pensylvska Street near the city center, Svetlana, the clinic’s director, says that everything is secured, that the clinic provides all services for the children in her area, and you can see stacks of boxes and bags of unsorted aid. But in other areas, the aid is not enough. To the east of Moskovsky district, near Amosova Street, hundreds gather in front of shops and pharmacies, waiting for their turn to get food or medicines. “These are the ones who can pay for the food,” says Kirill, who also works in providing in-kind aid. Not far away, hundreds of others are waiting to receive government aid. “Sometimes people wait for three hours, and when their turn arrives, the stocks are out.”
Elsewhere in this neighborhood, near the highway, a white truck stands and two young men open its doors and bring out cages full of fresh bread. The residents pass by and each takes as much as he wants, two loaves, three loaves, and they go on. These trucks leave the factory directly into the residential neighborhoods, and continue to distribute as long as the areas are safe.
Bread Distribution Truck (Middle East)
Security is relative here, and one kilometer away from the place, the Russian artillery hit a school, during the process of distributing bread, but the strike did not result in injuries, according to preliminary information, but many residents of the neighborhood are continuing their lives as usual since the first days of the war: working to secure food and drink , obtaining medicines, and exploring losses in the surrounding area as a result of the night bombing.
Tatiana (86 years) is sitting in the sun on a wooden bench, unaware of the sounds of bombing, reading from her book, and smiling when talking to her. She is what is called here the children of the Second World War. In Block 624, Vitaly plays the flute, and although most of the residents have now abandoned the buildings, Vitaly believes he lifts the spirits of the remaining residents by playing him.
In a building shelter, 35-year-old Natasha tries to arrange the furniture for her new bedroom, a simple mattress and a small table. She is sleeping here with her two children and brother Andrea, after the night has turned into a nightmare for her, and she fears for her two children.
Natasha says that she does not have enough water to drink, service water is available, but it is not suitable for drinking, and in order to get drinking water you have to walk for hours, food is almost guaranteed, but there is always difficulty in securing children’s food.
Natasha’s case is repeated in the huge apartment complex, children playing in the yards, and then returning in the evening to sleep in the shelters when the Russian bombing begins and the curfew at six in the evening. And if the electricity is currently secured, it was cut off several times due to the Russian bombing, and the first time, days after the beginning of the war, the interruption lasted for a week, while in areas a little further to the east, the electricity is constantly cut due to its proximity to the circle of engagement, and maintenance workers do not risk going to it To repair it, due to its proximity to areas under the control of Russian forces.
The power cuts kept many residents away from their homes in high-rise buildings, which reach 16 floors and are difficult to climb, especially since the majority of the remaining residents are elderly, but Xanada (89 years old) completely abandoned her home and started living in the entrance of the building, In a room that was reserved for a receptionist, her son Vosoldov turned it into her dorm room, where she has settled for three weeks now.
Vosoldov says that his mother can no longer go up and down the house, and that it is not safe to live on the 14th floor of the building, and he provides her with everything she needs here and spends his day near her until she falls asleep. And when you ask why they did not leave the city to another safe area, he says: “But where are we fleeing to? We do not have relatives, we do not have the money to leave, then this is our city and we did not occupy the city of other people until we leave and leave.”
The Russian bombing did not exclude the residential complex, as it hit it with several shells that overthrew part of it, and in this place unlike many other places, these neighborhoods are residential and for civilians only, and are devoid of any military activity, and therefore the goal remains to spread terror and displace the civilian population and not hit military targets .