The latest on Russia's war with Ukraine
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Russia has not been gaining that much ground in Ukraine, but it has been doing a lot of damage. Missile attacks, airstrikes and shelling of areas in the east continue. They hit civilian buildings, like an apartment complex that was struck on Saturday and where officials say at least 34 people were killed. NPR's Jason Beaubien is in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where six people were killed in missile attacks just yesterday. Hey there, Jason.
JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: Hey, Steve.
INSKEEP: What's it like where you are?
BEAUBIEN: Well, you know, over the last few nights, it's been like clockwork. At 3:30 in the morning, the air raid sirens go off. And then a few seconds later, cruise missiles slam into the city. And even the ones that are hitting quite far from where we are here in the center of the city, you know, it's a significant boom. They rattle the windows. These are being heard all across Kharkiv.
And yesterday, as you mentioned, six people were killed. Some of them were from a barrage of rockets that hit a bit later in the morning. You know, and we've gone out to some of these impact sites. These cruise missiles, as well as some of these smaller rockets, they're coming straight into the middle of Ukraine's second-largest city. Several have hit apartment buildings. One landed in a graveyard. Yesterday, one killed a dad and his 17-year-old son as they were driving down a residential street. So you're really getting these missiles hitting all over Kharkiv.
INSKEEP: How are people responding to this bombardment?
BEAUBIEN: You know, remarkably calmly, I'd say. Right after the Russians invaded back in February, there was a lot of concern that Russia might overrun Kharkiv. The city is just 20 miles from the Russian border. It's predominantly Russian-speaking. In the early days of the war, hundreds of thousands of people fled out of here. And city officials are telling us that a significant number of them have now come back.
BEAUBIEN: And many of them seem to have accepted that these rocket attacks are the new normal. I was talking to this one guy yesterday at the site of where that father and son were killed. And I asked him, you know, if this is happening right in front of your house, do you think about leaving again? And he just shrugged and said, no. He's planning to fix his fence that was torn up by the explosion. So life goes on for a lot of people here.
INSKEEP: Is it clear at all that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilians or civilian areas?
BEAUBIEN: You know, obviously, this is a country at war. The Russians right now desperately want to hit some of these new weapons that are arriving from the West. The Ukrainians say that these weapons are making a big impact on the battlefield. And obviously, those weapons are here somewhere. You've got soldiers all over the place in Ukraine. But the Russians do seem to be hitting an awful lot of civilians. As I said, we've gone out and seen where some of these explosions have happened. And they're clearly not all military targets. You know, there's a tire repair shop. There's multiple apartment buildings that I've talked about. There was a mall in Kremenchuk. There were - 21 people were killed. Malls all over the country have been getting hit. Some military analysts are telling me that it could be that Russia is running out of some of its more precise weapons. Or it could be that these strikes are actually part of a campaign to try to wear down public support for the war.
INSKEEP: Including this strike on the apartment complex over the weekend?
BEAUBIEN: Yes. You know, that one in Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, they're still out there pulling bodies out of the wreckage. The death toll is more than 30 at the moment. You know, a week before that, we had a missile strike that killed 21 people near Odesa in the south coast. And then that other missile strike in Kremenchuk on a mall that I mentioned, that one killed more than 20 people and injured dozens more in the center of the country.
INSKEEP: NPR's Jason Beaubien is in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, near the border with Russia. Jason, thanks as always for your reporting.
BEAUBIEN: You're welcome.
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