Russian troops enter Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as oil and gas facilities burn

KYIV (REUTERS) – Ukrainian forces were battling Russian troops on the streets of Ukraine’s north-eastern city of Kharkiv on Sunday (Feb 27), said regional governor Oleh Sinegubov.  

“The Russian enemy’s light vehicles have broken into Kharkiv, including the city centre,” Mr Sinegubov said.

“Ukraine’s armed forces are destroying the enemy. We ask civilians not to go out.”

Videos published by Mr Anton Herashchenko, adviser to the interior minister, and Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection showed several light military vehicles moving along a street and, separately, a burning tank.

Russian forces attacked oil and gas facilities, sparking huge explosions, officials said, as Western allies prepared new sanctions, including banishing key Russia banks from the main global payments system.

Ukrainian forces were holding off Russian troops advancing on the capital, Kyiv, said President Volodymyr Zelensky as the biggest assault on a European state since World War II entered its fourth day.

Russian missiles found their mark, including a strike that set an oil terminal ablaze in Vasylkiv, south-west of Kyiv, the town’s mayor said. Blasts sent huge flames and billowing black smoke into the night sky, online posts showed.

There were also reports of heavy fighting near Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, in the north-east, where Russian troops blew up a natural gas pipeline, a Ukrainian state agency said.

The gas blast there sent a mushroom cloud up into the darkness.

“The enemy wants to destroy everything,” said the mayor of Vasylkiv, Ms Natalia Balasinovich.

Russian troops later entered Kharkiv, an Interior Ministry adviser, Mr Anton Herashchenko, said on Telegram.

Videos posted by him and a state agency showed several military vehicles moving on a street and, separately, a burning tank.

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