How Putin has turned Ukraine's cities to rubble: Before and after images show aftermath of bombs


Extraordinary images from Ukraine show before and after Russian forces indiscriminately bombarded and obliterated populated areas. 

Pictures show the centre of Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv after a rocket attack in front of a civilian public administration building that destroyed the road outside and blew the windows out of the building itself on Tuesday morning.    

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, speaking in a video posted on Facebook, said the attack on Kharkiv’s Freedom Square was ‘open, undisguised terror’ and branded Russia a ‘terrorist state’ for indiscriminately shelling Kharkiv – even as Moscow maintained its forces are only targeting military infrastructure.

A day earlier Zelensky accused Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of war crimes after Moscow’s forces launched what were believed to be cluster and vacuum bomb attacks in an attempt to turn the tide of a conflict that they have so-far been losing.   

Footage from inside the the civilian public administration building in Kharkiv on Tuesday showed it was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around.  

People stranded in cities across Ukraine were today bracing for a resumption of shelling and artillery fire – after a 40-mile-long death convoy arrived on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv overnight and as Russian forces encircled Kharkiv and Mariupol after reaching the centre of Kherson. 

City Hall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv before it was bombed in a Russian rocket attack
City Hall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv  after it was bombed in a Russian rocket attack

City Hall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv before and after it was bombed in a Russian rocket attack that destroyed the road outside and blew the windows out of the building itself on Tuesday morning, killing at least ten people

Freedom Square in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine,
Freedom Square in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, after it was destroyed in indiscriminate shelling by Russian forces on Tuesday, March 1

Freedom Square in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, before and after it was destroyed in indiscriminate shelling by Russian forces on Tuesday, March 1

A residential building in the small town of Irpin, north west of Kyiv before and after it was hit in a Russian missile attack after Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine

Since Russian troops rolled into Ukraine last week to achieve Putin’s mission of overthrowing Zelensky’s pro-Western government, hundreds of civilians have been reported killed. 

Russian forces have carried out a massive bombing campaign and encircled urban centres including that of Kharkiv, a a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, with a population of around 1.4 million, but Ukraine insists no major city has yet been overtaken. 

‘Russian airborne troops landed in Kharkiv… and attacked a local hospital,’ the Ukrainian army said in a statement on messaging app Telegram. ‘There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians.’

Russia hit a residential building in the city on Tuesday killing eight people, drawing comparisons to the massacres of civilians in Sarajevo in the 1990s and condemnation for what Zelensky called a ‘war crime’.

A fire broke out on Wednesday in the barracks of a flight school in Kharkiv following an airstrike, according to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister.

Fighting was on Wednesday underway in Kharkiv after Russian paratroopers dropped in and attacked a military hospital before airstrikes targeting police, state agencies and the security service. 

Part of Karazin National University was on fire early Wednesday after a missile – seemingly intended for the neighbouring police headquarters or interior ministry – struck the college’s department of sociology instead.

At least 21 people have been killed an 112 wounded in shelling on Kharkiv in the last 24 hours, governor Oleg Synegubov said, as an interior ministry official added: ‘There are practically no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit.’ 

A police building in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, before  it was hit by a Russian rocket
A police building in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, after it was hit by a Russian rocket

A police building in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, before and after it was hit by a Russian rocket, blowing out the windows and sparking a massive fire

The road outside a police building in Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv
Police building after it was hit in shelling, leaving debris strewn across the streets outside

The road outside a police building in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, on Tuesday after it was hit in shelling, leaving debris strewn across the streets outside

The city of Konotop, 150 miles to the north of Kharkiv, was sent an ultimatum by Russian forces surrounding it on Wednesday – surrender or be destroyed by artillery – as Putin’s men resort to siege tactics.

Putin’s forces also claimed to have captured Kherson, a major industrial centre in the south, overnight though the mayor remained defiant – posting on Facebook: ‘We are still Ukraine. Still firm.’ Mariupol, also in the south, came under renewed shelling as Russian forces try to surround it.

In Zhytomyr, a city to the west of Kyiv, airstrikes hit the headquarters of the 95th Ukrainian armed forces brigade while also damaging a hospital, leaving two people dead. The city of Bila Tserkva, some 50 miles south of Kyiv, was also hit overnight.

Ukraine’s armed forces said Wednesday morning that Russia is ‘trying to advance in all directions’ but are ‘being resisted everywhere and suffering losses’. It estimates that 5,840 Russian troops have been killed so far – though that figure cannot be verified. 

Kharkiv was struck by more Russian rockets on Tuesday morning, with one striking outside the civilian public administration building which was heavily damaged in the blast. The rocket can be seen a split second before it slams into the building, triggering a massive blast

The rocket caused huge damage to the building and threw up a huge plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion

The rocket caused huge damage to the building and threw up a huge plume of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of war crimes on Monday after Vladimir Putin's forces launched what were believed to be cluster and vacuum bomb attacks on the fifth day of their invasion. Above: Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, coming under heavy attack on Monday

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of war crimes on Monday after Vladimir Putin’s forces launched what were believed to be cluster and vacuum bomb attacks on the fifth day of their invasion. Above: Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, coming under heavy attack on Monday

Firefighters battle to put out a blaze in Kharkiv as the city came under renewed airstrikes today, with an official saying there is almost no area of the city left that has not been hit

Firefighters battle to put out a blaze in Kharkiv as the city came under renewed airstrikes today, with an official saying there is almost no area of the city left that has not been hit

Rescue workers and medics are pictured close to the regional administration building in central Kharkiv, picking their way through the debris following the explosion

Rescue workers and medics are pictured close to the regional administration building in central Kharkiv, picking their way through the debris following the explosion

Kharkiv and Ukraine flags are pictured hanging from a blown out window of the administrative building after the Russian rocket attack in a symbol of defiance

Kharkiv and Ukraine flags are pictured hanging from a blown out window of the administrative building after the Russian rocket attack in a symbol of defiance

The bombardment of Kharkiv continued Tuesday morning with a rocket landing just in front of the civilian public administration building, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out of the building itself. Footage from inside shows the building was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around

The bombardment of Kharkiv continued Tuesday morning with a rocket landing just in front of the civilian public administration building, destroying the road outside and blowing the windows out of the building itself. Footage from inside shows the building was heavily damaged, with ceilings collapsing and rubble strewn around

Ukrainian emergency service personnel carry a body of a victim out of the damaged City Hall building following shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Ukrainian emergency service personnel carry a body of a victim out of the damaged City Hall building following shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Firefighters attempt to put out the burning sociology department of Karazin National University which was hit by a strike seemingly intended for nearby government buildings

Firefighters attempt to put out the burning sociology department of Karazin National University which was hit by a strike seemingly intended for nearby government buildings

Ukraine’s military said Russia today renewed its assault ‘on all fronts’, with paratroopers landing in Kharkiv, tanks and trucks rolling into the centre of Kherson, and strikes in Mariupol and Zhytomyr

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