Russia Increases Strikes on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s Second-Largest City

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last Monday claimed that the Russian missile strike that destroyed a digital television tower in Kharkiv was part of Moscow’s broader effort to intimidate residents of the city and the surrounding region.

In his nightly video address Monday night, the Ukrainian president said he notified President Joe Biden about the strike which occurred just minutes before the two leaders spoke on the phone.

In a readout of the call published on Telegram, Zelenskyy told the president that it was clear that Moscow intended to make Kharkiv “uninhabitable.”

Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that it was obvious Monday’s missile strike was an “attempt at intimidation” by the Russians to terrify residents of Kharkiv while also limiting communications and information to the city.

Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city with a population of 1.3 million. Located in northeastern Ukraine just 18 miles from the Russian border, the city has been a regular target of Russian attacks throughout the war. However, the attacks have grown in intensity in the face of Ukraine’s dwindling air defenses.

Russia began targeting Kharkiv’s energy infrastructure last month, launching massive strikes against the city’s power facilities.

According to regional governor Oleh Synehubov, Monday’s attack on the television tower caused “interruptions” to the signal in the area, however, no casualties were reported.

Officials from the Service for State Special Communications said the digital television signal was temporarily disrupted following Monday’s attack but efforts were underway to restore it.

The governor reported a subsequent missile attack outside of Kharkiv that caused a fire at a poultry farm.

Regional prosecutors reported shelling in a village southeast of Kharkiv that killed one civilian.

Russia has recently intensified its attacks as it prepares for a spring offensive, with Kharkiv and the surrounding area experiencing the most intense strikes. Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to suffer from shortages of weapons and equipment, particularly air defense systems.