A hypermarket burns after a double Russian bombing, Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 25, 2024 (Reuters)

Saturday’s Coverage: Putin Is Purging Russia’s Generals

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The death toll has risen to 16 from Russia’s strike on the Epicenter shopping mall in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine.

With bodies burnt beyond recognition, police are asking relatives of suspected victims to submit DNA for identification.


UK military intelligence assesses the state of Russia’s 16-day cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine

On 17 May 2024, President Putin stated that Russian forces were creating a buffer or safety zone in Kharkiv. This has currently not succeeded.

The northern Kharkiv front has likely stabilised with Russian territorial control fragmented and not joined up. Russia’s gains in this axis will be limited in the coming week, as Russia’s initial momentum has been contained by Ukrainian resistance.

The analysts note that the Russians are still trying to take their first border town, Vovchansk, “threatening the flank and rear of defending Ukrainian forces”.


The death toll has risen to 14 from Russia’s bombing of a hypermarket in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine on Saturday.


Ukraine’s air defenses downed 12 of 14 missiles and all 31 Iran-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

The missiles and UAVs were intercepted over the Mykolaiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Zaporizhzhia, Khmelnytskyi, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsia, and Chernihiv regions.

Three people were injured by falling drone debris in the Vinnytsia region in central Ukraine. Three four-story apartment blocks, seven private houses, and six cars were damaged .


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has commented further about Russia’s deadly strikes on civilians in Kharkiv city.

Denise Brown, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, said of the “utterly unacceptable” attack:

This afternoon, in broad daylight as people — despite all the horrors they endure every day in this city — were trying to go about their day, their lives were shattered by yet another attack by the Russian Armed Forces. The strike hit a busy shopping centre with scores of civilian casualties and massive damage to civilian facilities….

Intentionally directing an attack against civilian infrastructure is strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.

ORGINAL ENTRY: In its latest strike on civilians in Kharkiv city, Russia has killed at least 12 and wounded at least 43 in the bombing of a hypermarket for building materials.

Russia has been terrorizing the residents of Kharkiv with aerial attacks throughout the 27-month invasion. The assault has been stepped up this spring, accompanying a cross-border offensive since May 10 into the region in northeast Ukraine.

Two bombs set a fire across more than 10,000 square meters in the hypermarket, where more than 200 people were doing weekend shopping.

Ten of the burnt bodies are still unidentified. Sixteen people are missing.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said, “The attack targeted the shopping center, where there were many people — this is clearly terrorism.”

The Russians also hit a residential building in the center of Kharkiv, injuring 18 people. The missile left a crater several metres deep in the pavement at the foot of the building, which had a post office, a beauty salon, and a cafe as well as apartments.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted video of the burning building and commented:

If Ukraine had enough air defense systems and modern combat aircraft, such Russian attacks would simply become impossible. And that is why we appeal to all leaders, to all states: we need a significant increase in air defense and sufficient capabilities to destroy Russian terrorists. A task that needs to be completed and can only be completed together with the world. Every day we call on the world: give us air defense, save people. Every unaccepted decision on support is a loss of our people.

Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal echoed Zelenskiy’s essential point about what is needed to limit the attacks:

The simple fact is that the civilians of Kharkiv — Ukraine’s second-largest city, with its northern neighborhoods sitting just 13 miles from the Russia border — cannot be protected without suppressing the sources of fire within Russia.