Kharkiv. Chronicles of the Attack on the City. Day 136 (09.07.2022)

By Serhiy Petrov

  • The day was relatively quiet overall, but there were some isolated instances of shelling on the northern outskirts of the city. 
  • A rocket attack struck the city center in the morning, destroying an apartment building and leaving numerous people wounded. 
  • An architectural group proposed a project to restore Pivnichna Saltivka, but the idea is highly questionable due to the constant shelling of that area and the threat of similar strikes in the future on the northern outskirts.

The overall picture of the day is quiet, mostly calm.

There were isolated instances of shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv. This was perhaps the quietest day since late May, when muscovites began to intensify their shelling of the city. A lack of shells is what’s probably preventing them from hitting Kharkiv harder and forcing them to instead concentrate only on the front line, where during the last week they have been actively storming the positions of our military north of Kharkiv.

But at 10 a.m. a rocket struck Podil, which is in the center of the city. The Iskander missile struck the courtyard of a residential building. One fairly old two-story building was destroyed completely and another was destroyed partially. Six people were injured, three of them, including a 12-year-old child, were hospitalized. It had been a long time (since the beginning of April) since rockets last struck Kharkiv in the morning and afternoon hours. In the early days of the wide-scale invasion it was a more or less regular occurrence.

The building that was destroyed by a rocket attack in the center of Kharkiv, in Podil. Photo: Head Office of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Kharkiv Region, CC BY 4.0

If you are surprised that there’s a Podil in Kharkiv, don’t be. This is an old historical name, which the muscovites tried to squeeze out of the local toponymy during Soviet times, replacing it with “Zirka,” the name of a movie theater that used to be in the area.

Around midnight, an air raid alarm went off. Subscribers to Kharkiv public Telegram channels reported that rockets had been launched from the Belhorod area, but none landed in the city or its suburbs. One of the Belhorod publications reported that there had been five rocket launches but three fell near Belhorod, and “pops” were heard. I don’t know if there were as many as five rockets, but one or two rockets that were fired at Kharkiv did fall. This is a case where an attempt to produce nightly psychological and acoustic terror for the residents of Kharkiv turned into friendly fire. In general, I can state that the percentage of non-standard launches of muscovite rockets is becoming quite high. This may be evidence that the rockets are poorly prepared or stored.

At half past three several rocket strikes in the southern part of the city destroyed another gymnasium, named after the moscovia “scientist” Lomonosov, and later a private home near a children’s rehabilitation center.

Shelling continues in the northern and eastern suburbs of Kharkiv, Ruski Tyshky, Cherkaski Tyshky, Tsyrkuny (where one woman was wounded), Pytomnyk, Novyi, Dementiyika, Ruska Lozova, Bezruky, Slatyne, Prudyanka, and Derhachy. The ruscists also shelled the town of Zolochiv, where private homes were destroyed and fire started in local businesses’ warehouses. Kalynove and Sosnivka (Zolochivska Hromada) also saw private homes destroyed by shelling. In Vilkhivka, Rubizhne, and Pechenihy, houses were damaged and a fire broke out as a result of the shelling; one woman died and another was wounded. Korobochkine, Nova Hnylytsia, and Malynyvka have been shelled as well.

There is a threat of remote mining in Pechenihy, the Staryi Saltiv area, and the village of Rubizhne. As part of anti-sabotage measures, border guards found 20 artillery shells of 152 mm caliber on the road leading from the suburbs to Kharkiv connected to a radio remote control. Oleksandr Husarov, head of the Pechenizka Hromada, also warns about the danger of remote mining in the Pechenizka Hromada territory, which is under constant muscovite fire.

Fighting continues north of Kharkiv. The muscovites tried several times to attack from Kozacha Lopan and Kochubeyivka in the direction of Dementiyivka, of the Derhachivska Hromada, but these attempts were repelled by the Ukrainian military. A reconnaissance group of muscovites was discovered moving from the village of Male Vesele toward the village of Petrivka. The defense forces of Ukraine forced them to retreat. Active attempts to advance on Kharkiv during the last week show that fighting for Kharkiv has intensified. This is what I warned about earlier. The battle for Kharkiv is not over, and we are now in its fifth stage, with active attacks by the muscovites (following attempts to take the city, attempts to besiege it, counteroffensive actions by Ukrainian troops, and the operational pause in mid to late May). It is hard to say whether there will be an even greater activation, considering that an entire division consisting of somewhere between eight and nine battalion tactical groups is located in the Kharkiv direction. Anything can happen, since no one canceled the mission to conquer Kharkiv.

The muscovites are again changing the tactics of their missile strikes. However, not a day goes by without strikes on Kharkiv or its suburbs. Two quiet nights for Kharkiv residents and relative calm ended with an early morning rocket attack. It appears that the shelling of Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Kryviy Rih, Slovyansk, and Kramatorsk was a kind of punishment for the Ukrainian military’s week-long strikes of moscovia’s ammunition, fuel, and lubricants warehouses in the rear thanks to American military aid.

Gas supply in Kharkiv was restored for 5,000 residents in the Pivnichna Saltivka-2 microdistrict. The work was done jointly with sappers and rescuers, who dismantled dangerous structures of damaged buildings. The work of rescuers to clear debris from the houses in Pivnichna Saltivka is ongoing. During such works, an explosive object was found in one of the damaged apartment buildings and was taken away for further disposal.

It is interesting that the architecture firm Ego House Architects presented a construction project for Pivnichna Saltivka called “contemporary standards” consisting of lowrise block building development. Of course, it looks interesting (it’s a different discussion that this will not be possible without building attics and that it will all be screwed up in execution by local developers). I have an apartment in the northwest of the city, in a damaged apartment building. And I don’t want to live there because this area is still being shelled, and it’s simply dangerous to live close to the border. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: it makes no sense to rebuild the northern outskirts of Kharkiv. These territories should be given to the military for building out the city’s defenses. The city should be developed not to the north but to the south and southwest. This project is a good development idea for the suburbs of Kharkiv, where there will be a need for housing. There will be no need for housing in the north of the city. People will look for ways to sell their housing there as soon as possible, and it will be very cheap because of the constant risk.

I am glad that Suspilne Kharkiv conducted an interview with two volunteers I know: Yaryna Chahovets, from the Sestra Myloserdtsia volunteer group, which helps our hospitals; and Artem Fisun, who constantly travels with volunteer help to the frontline units of our military in Donbas. You guys are wonderful!

By the way, I can confirm Yarina’s words that soldiers really need all kinds of toys or stuffed dolls. They are like amulets, tokens for our military, establishing a connection to real life and real people. I’ve heard more than one similar story about how important such material assistance is for our soldiers.

One of the Kharkiv cafes started selling coffee carrying symbols of the units that protect Kharkiv from the muscovites, including the Ivan Syrko 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade, the Kraken and Skhid special units, the Patrol Police of the Kharkiv Region, and the Azov Special Operations Forces unit. Almost two-thirds of the funds from each sale will go to support these formations. Funds from sales of patrol police drinks will go to the 92nd brigade. The number of bags is limited, and more than 150 portions were sold on the first day.

Chuhuyiv Mayor Halyna Minayeva said the local authorities will help the families of Chuhuyiv residents who were killed by ruscist attacks on the Chuhuyiv Hromada. The families should contact the social services authorities. The city authorities are also working on restoration of the boiler house, damaged a few weeks ago by muscovite shelling. Employees of the utility company were killed there. Repair work is already ongoing and will be completed as soon as possible to prepare this area for the cold season.

In the southeast of the Kharkiv Region, fighting continues in the Slovyansk and Barvinkove directions. Muscovites are shelling frontline villages and towns. Andriyivka, of the Donetska Hromada, has one person wounded on the territory of the community. The villages of Chepil, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Dibrivne, Nova Dmytrivka, and Virnopillya continue to be shelled.

A very interesting statement came from the Republican congresswoman Victoria Spartz, a native of Ukraine, who sent a letter to President Joe Biden with a request to provide information about the supervisory procedures being carried out regarding the head of President Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak.

Yermak’s actions have given rise to many questions. In particular, in February he assured Ukrainian leadership that an attack by Russia would not take place, contrary to Western intelligence information. It appears as if this may have been done to prevent Ukraine from properly preparing for war. The unpreparedness of Kherson’s defense caused the city to surrender to the occupiers. The consequences of this led to the tragedy of the Azov regiment in Mariupol. There are questions in particular about delaying purchases of military equipment through the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, limiting defense orders, deliberate delays caused by Yermak’s deputy, Oleg Tatarov, of the appointment of the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, and more.

Bloggers who work for the President’s Office, as well as Telegram channels connected to moscovia’s special services, immediately pounced on Spartz’s statement. The common threads in the messages were that Yermak and Tatarov were patriots and had made one of the biggest contributions to the defense of Ukraine, while Poroshenko was involved in the statement appearing (as if he was the one who gave the statement to Victoria Spartz and forced her to sign it). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also made harsh statements. The tone and originality of the messages shows that such information is very painful for Yermak, who almost considers himself the vice president of Ukraine, although his position is head of the Office of the President of Ukraine or, simply put, operations manager.

Because of various media errors and dubious Telegram channels over the last few weeks, the deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleh Tatarov tried to improve his image. At the same time he accuses public activists that their activities undermine the situation in the country. During Euromaidan, Oleh Tatarov was the deputy head of the main investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and accused Euromaidan activists of having beaten or kidnapped themselves, and also justified the actions of Berkut, which shot protesters on the streets of Kyiv on February 18-20. Tatarov was also the lawyer of the ex-deputy head of the Yanukovych administration and pro-moscovia politician Andriy Portnov, pro-moscovia People’s Deputy from the Opposition Bloc Vadym Novinsky. He was also the lawyer of the widow of one of the attackers on activist Serhiy Sternenko, who was severely wounded by Sternenko in self-defense and died. And Tatarov is now delaying the appointment of the head of the Special Anti Corruption Prosecutor office, because Yermak and Tatarov’s protégé didn’t win the competition for the post.

After 11 p.m. in the area of ​​Krasnyi Khutor, near the border with Ukraine on the side of the occupied Kozacha Lopan, something caught on fire. It was visible from Belgorod. What it was exactly is unknown.

Let us believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let us help volunteers, doctors, and rescuers. Everything will be, Ukraine!

історик, аналітик Інформаційного Центру "Майдан Моніторинг" (сайт "Майдан"), громадський активіст, редактор української Вікіпедії