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Dozens of civilians have died and hundreds more are injured following the shelling of a residential area of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.
The bombardment, which was launched by Russia on Monday afternoon, February 28, saw multiple apartment buildings in the north-east of the city hit by rocket fire.
Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko confirmed the attack in a post on Facebook, saying 'Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads [rockets]. Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded.'
Footage of explosions hitting a number of buildings in part of the city has since emerged on social media, with images also showing used rocket casings embedded in streets and buildings. Extremely graphic images purporting to show dead bodies and severely injured civilians following the shelling have also been shared online. The precise number of casualties is currently unknown.
Sky News defence correspondent Deborah Haynes, who is in Kyiv, corroborated the reports, saying 'there has been a horrific bombardment of Ukraine's second city. The images that are appearing... give a sense that something very horrific has happened.'
One expert told Sky News that the attack showed 'classic signs' of having involved cluster munitions - an explosive weapon that ejects numerous 'bomblets' over a wide area - though these reports have not been verified.
The use of cluster munitions has been banned under international law since 2010, though Russia was not signatory to the treaty and is alleged to have used the weapons in Syria in recent years.
Russian forces have been shelling Kharkiv and other major cities for several days, with UK defence minister Ben Wallace warning this morning that civilian areas could be targeted by 'indiscriminate' bombings as Russia grows increasingly 'frustrated' by its apparent slow progress in the face of strong Ukrainian resistance.
Today's attack on a residential area came as Russian and Ukrainian delegations met in Belarus to discuss a possible ceasefire.
The outcome of the talks is as yet unknown, though last night Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was skeptical there would be a breakthrough.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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