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The Wall Street Journal: Kharkiv’s resolve is unbroken as Russian forces continue to pound No. 2 Ukrainian city

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, with airstrikes in a bid to break the will of the country’s resistance as Moscow’s offensive toward Kyiv stalled and Ukrainian officials said the invasion’s civilian death toll has reached 2,000.

Kharkiv residents said the city of 1.4 million people suffered heavy bombardment for the third day in a row, including airstrikes that hit residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Kharkiv’s municipality and police headquarters as well as the nearby university building were severely damaged and caught fire. Local authorities reported 21 dead and 112 injured in the past 24 hours. Moscow says it isn’t targeting civilians.

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“ ‘[T]hey can’t enter the city because every time they try, we hit them in the teeth. So, instead, they are trying to sow panic with missile strikes, hitting critical infrastructure and residential areas, trying to demoralize us.’ ”

— Kharkiv’s deputy governor, Roman Semenukha, on Ukrainian TV

Russian forces also attempted to seize the city’s military hospital, local authorities said. However, the front line held and the city, located 30 miles from the Russian border, remained under firm Ukrainian control.

“We have understood their tactic: they can’t enter the city because every time they try, we hit them in the teeth,” Kharkiv’s deputy governor, Roman Semenukha, said on Ukrainian TV. “So, instead, they are trying to sow panic with missile strikes, hitting critical infrastructure and residential areas, trying to demoralize us.”

Russian airstrikes continued, hitting government and university buildings in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv; Ukraine President Zelensky called on Vladimir Putin to stop attacks before talks; Ukrainians built roadblocks to slow Russian troops. Photo: Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s war on Ukraine has now entered its seventh day with few signs that Moscow is closing in on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of ousting the country’s elected government and ending its alignment with the West.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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