March 3, 2024

Ukraine war: Baby killed in Russian strike on Kharkiv hotel

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Attacks on the Kharkiv region, just over the border from Russia, have intensified recently-BBC

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A two-month-old boy was killed and his mother wounded when a Russian missile hit a hotel in north-eastern Ukraine, officials say.

The baby’s body was pulled out of the rubble of the three-storey building in the village of Zolochiv, said Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov.

Two other women were hurt when Russia fired two S-300 missiles, he said, hitting the hotel and nearby buildings.

Attacks on the Kharkiv region have intensified since the end of 2023.

Zolochiv is only 20km (12 miles) from the Russian border and too close for Ukraine’s air defences to offer sufficient cover.

The S-300s that hit the hotel in the early hours of Tuesday were originally produced as surface-to-air missiles for Russia’s air defences, but they have been adapted to hit Ukrainian targets on the ground. They are seen as cheaper than more accurate cruise missiles.

Last month, another hotel was hit by S-300 missiles in the city of Kharkiv, leaving a number of people wounded, including journalists covering the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces responded to Russia’s bombardment in late December, with a deadly attack on the city of Belgorod, half an hour’s drive from the border.

In a separate development, five people have been arrested by Ukraine’s SBU security service on suspicion of involvement in a Russian spy ring.

The SBU said the five included current and former members of the main intelligence director and foreign intelligence service. It alleged they had provided Russia’s FSB security service with details about the armed forces, energy infrastructure and the sites of US-made MRLS rocket launch systems.

Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine is nearing the end of its second year, with little success on the battlefield since the early weeks of the full-scale invasion.

Russian forces have focused much of their resources on trying to capture the eastern town of Avdiivka, considered a gateway to the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.

The town’s population has all but fled and most of its buildings have been reduced to rubble.

Ukraine’s much-heralded counter-offensive last summer also delivered few territorial gains, although Ukrainian forces announced on Tuesday that they had put about a third of the warships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet out of action since the start of the war.

Only last week, Ukrainian military intelligence said it had sunk another warship, the Ivanovets, with naval attack drones on the west coast of occupied Crimea.

However, speculation is rife in Kyiv that President Volodymyr Zelensky is about to fire the widely popular armed forces chief, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who admitted last November that the war had reached a stalemate.

President Zelensky told Italy’s Rai TV this week that he was considering a “reset of some leaders of the state”. “If we want to win, we, all of us, we have to be leaders of the victory. We cannot lose hope or give up in despair.”

US military funding for Ukraine has been stalled in recent weeks because a White House request for $60bn (£48bn) in aid for Kyiv has been blocked for weeks by Republicans in Congress after it became tied up in a US bill to tighten border security.

However, the European Union has just approved a four-year programme of aid worth €50bn (£43bn) for Ukraine. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell, on a visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, said his aim was to underline the EU’s unwavering support for Kyiv as the war neared its third year.

Source: BBC

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