Ukrainian prosecutors investigate attacks on civilians in Kharkiv region amid Russian offensive

Russia claims capture of another village as Zelenskiy says Ukrainian forces are growing in confidence

Ukrainian prosecutors said they were investigating attacks on civilians in two cities in the northeastern region of Kharkiv a president Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported successes by troops fighting a fresh Russian assault there on Saturday.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address that Ukrainian forces had grown in confidence, particularly in the Kharkiv region.

However, Russia’s ministry for defence said its forces captured the village of Starytsia in the Kharkiv region on Saturday, eight days after a new Russian push in the area began.

“The occupier is losing its infantry and equipment, a tangible loss, even though, just as in 2022, it was counting on a quick advance on our land,” Zelenskiy said, referring to Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.


In the eastern Donetsk region around Chasiv Yar, a city seen as a key target in Russia’s campaign, Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces had repelled a Russian assault. “Our soldiers destroyed more than 20 units of the occupier’s armoured vehicles,” he said.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Ukrainian prosecutors said they were investigating an air strike on a residential area of the regional capital Kharkiv in which five people were wounded, including a 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy.

In the city of Vovchansk, just 5km from the Russian border, the regional prosecutor said Russian shelling killed a 60-year-old woman and injured three other civilians. A 59-year-man was also injured in the village of Ukrainske, prosecutors said.

While thousands have been killed and injured since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians.

In a bid to boost troop numbers amid Russia’s new offensive, a mobilisation law has come into force in Ukraine.

The legislation, which was watered down from its original draft, will make it easier to identify every conscript in the country. It also provides incentives to soldiers, such as cash bonuses or money towards buying a house or car, that some analysts say Ukraine cannot afford.

Ukraine’s parliamentarians dragged their feet for months and only passed the law in mid-April, a week after Ukraine lowered the age for men who can be drafted from 27 to 25.

The measures reflect the growing strain that more than two years of war with Russia has had on Ukraine’s forces, who are trying to hold the front lines in fighting that has sapped the country’s ranks and stores of weapons and ammunition.