Kharkiv. Chronicles of the Attack on the City. Day 139 (12.07.2022)

By Serhiy Petrov

  • Muscovite shelling of Kharkiv increased slightly during the day.
  • They launched another missile strike early in the morning at a target in Pavlove Pole. 
  • In the middle of the day, an industrial zone in the southeast of the city was shelled with rocket artillery. There are wounded. 
  • Kharkiv oligarch Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, owner of the DCH company, returned to Ukraine after fleeing in mid-February 2022 due to a car accident. The car he was likely driving hit and killed a man.

Today the shelling increased. The muscovites appear to have received some ammunition. But in general, it was a relatively quiet day. In the afternoon, around 1:30 pm, the muscovites once again struck the industrial zone of the Kharkiv Tractor Plant neighborhood and Nemyshlya with rocket artillery. As a result, four industrial facilities, residential buildings, garages, and cars were damaged and destroyed. Six fires broke out; six people were injured, mostly men, and five of them were hospitalized in the city. During the day, the northern outskirts of Kharkiv, specifically Pivnichna Saltivka, Pyatykhatky, as well as the outskirts of Saltivka and Oleksiyivka, were shelled. The muscovites intensified their shelling again at 10 pm. Due to the shelling during the day and late in the evening, two artillery shelling threat alerts were issued by the Zastosunok application. In previous days, this kind of alert went out either once a day or not at all, but today it went out twice. The ammunition has definitely been delivered, and our guys need to take out more ammunition warehouses.

As usual, the very early morning did not start with coffee. At 3:30 am two rockets were fired at Kharkiv, striking right in between residential buildings in the Pavlove Pole area and destroying a children’s sports playground. Large craters formed on the ground (as tends to happen after such strikes). Serhiy Zhadan wrote in a Facebook post that just a few days ago he was playing with his friends on the football field located nearby, but this morning this exact area was plowed by Iskanders. People in Belgorod report to have seen one of three Iskander missiles that were launched shot down.

The consequences of muscovite rocket artillery shelling of the Nemyshlya industrial zone in Kharkiv. Photo: Kharkiv Region headquarters of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, CC BY 4.0.

On July 13, the muscovites hit Kharkiv again with rockets at 3:05 am (they’ve been changing their schedule once every few days). Two explosions characteristic of rocket strikes were heard within the city limits, and one just outside. Kharkiv residents have observed that the ruscists have changed the area of ​​traditional rocket launches. According to Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, the muscovites tried to launch rocket attacks on Kharkiv, but Ukrainian air defense systems made it so that the “Belgorod present” “got lost on the way.” There are no casualties; there is no destruction; it appears to have fallen down somewhere.

Shelling continues in the northern and eastern suburbs of Kharkiv: Ruski Tyshky, Cherkaski Tyshky, Petrivka, Tsyrkuny, Pytomnyk, Novе, Dementiiyvka, Ruska Lozova, Bezruky, Slatyne, Prudyanka, and Derhachi. One man was killed, another man and woman were injured due to shelling in Slatyne. The ruscists also shelled Zolochiv, Sosnivka, Chornohlazivka, and Udy, where an elderly woman was wounded. Zolochiv was shelled several times a day by ruscist artillery. About ten residential buildings were damaged, one of them an apartment building. During the last three days, according to the head of the Zolochivska Hromada, shelling of Zolochiv has been very strong, resulting in people beginning to leave the settlement more actively. Also being shelled are Kutuzivka, Ukrainka, Zamulivka, Bayrak, Rubizhne, Staryi Saltiv, Korobochkine, Ivanivka, and Stara Hnylytsia. 

Fighting continues to the north and northeast of Kharkiv. Over the last week, muscovites have been carrying out airstrikes in the frontline area. They also again attempted to storm Dementiyivka, of the Derhachivska Hromada, several times, but our forces stopped these attempts.

There are no visible changes in Kharkiv. There are relatively few people and cars. However, the city remains in frontline conditions and under constant shelling. Most people have a clear understanding of who is bombarding Kharkiv, however, a lion’s share of Kharkiv residents still ask, “Why are they doing it to us? What do they want to achieve with this? What did we do?” After four and a half months of constant shelling, that is surprising. Most of the city’s residents are still unable to understand the simple fact that the muscovites are shooting at the city to destroy us because we are Ukrainians. It doesn’t matter what language we speak or what someone’s religious beliefs are. Our political beliefs are what’s important: whether we are on Ukraine’s side or on Moscow’s. If we’re on Ukraine’s side, we will continue to be killed, simply because we do not want to be the occupiers’ slaves.

A portion of Tyurynka and Saltivski Selyscha were left without electricity due to shelling by rocket artillery on Monday. Utility workers are repairing damaged power lines and promise to fix everything by Wednesday.

Maryna Polyakova, a well-known Kharkiv volunteer who heads the All-Ukrainian Association of Relatives of Missing and Fallen Defenders of Ukraine needs help. According to her friends, doctors discovered that she had cancer and the necessary treatment costs are more than $30,000. Maryna Polyakova has been protecting the rights of our defenders and their families and the families of fallen heroes on a volunteer basis for more than eight years, since the start of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in 2014. During this time, she has organized numerous events for our soldiers and their families and multiple protests demanding that local authorities fulfill their legal obligations regarding the rights of Anti-Terrorist Operation/Joint Forces Operation veterans and their family members. She originated the idea to create a memorial wall dedicated to the soldiers of the ATO and JFO on the facade of the Church of John the Theologian of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Kharkiv.

Head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration took part in a meeting in Lozova regarding the security situation in the south of Kharkiv region and the actions necessary to strengthen the defense capability of the Lozivska district, which includes Lozivska, Pervomaiska, Blizniukivska, Bilyayivska, and Oleksiyivska Hromadas. They are all frontline communities. Also, people who had evacuated to other regions of Ukraine earlier, around March and April, are returning to Lozova and other communities of the district. However, it is still dangerous to be on the territory of Lozivska district. Serhii Zelenskyi, the head of the Lozivska Hromada, has been urging residents not to return to the city and the settlements of the hromada because of the danger.

Here’s a digest of sorts on the frontline hromadas near Kharkiv:

Derhachvska Hromada

  • About 35% of the hromada’s territory is currently temporarily occupied by muscovite troops. It is unknown how many people are living there now. More than 2,100 people live in Kozacha Lopan and about a hundred people each in Tokarivka and the Prokhodiv district.
  • In the first days of the large-scale invasion, the muscovites did not blockade the settlements of the Derhachivska Hromada, so it was possible to travel between them, deliver aid, and receive information. The head of the community, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, lived with his family in Tsupivka in the early days, and when the situation became tense around the end of the first week, he evacuated his family and stayed in Derhachi by himself.
  • As long as the muscovites who went to Derhachi and Kharkiv had only about 200 pieces of equipment, the Armed Forces of Ukraine beat them well. Additionally, the local guys who had gone through ATO/JFO searched for equipment that could be evacuated and handed it over to our military. They also collected intelligence. They did a lot for our military, so it could hold Dergachi. If they couldn’t hold the city, things would have been very difficult for Kharkiv.
  • When the muscovites got close to Derhachi, there was a mass evacuation to Kharkiv by buses and other vehicles. There was also an evacuation in April, when the city was heavily shelled.
  • Everyone knows who the collaborators are. They are usually people who have not achieved any success in life, people with a criminal past, or those who abuse alcohol. Some collaborators had left during evacuation from the liberated villages, but Security Service employees traced and detained them.

Zolochivska Hromada

  • As of late February/early March, more than 40,000 people lived in the Zolochivska Hromada, including refugees from Kharkiv.
  • When Zolochiv and other villages of the hromada came under shelling, people started to leave en masse. Now, out of about 11,000 people, about 8,000 are still in Zolochiv, and almost 3,000 have left. In the villages most heavily shelled, only a few dozen people remained. Twenty three of the 1,217 Udy residents remained; Svitlychny had more than 300 people, but they have all left. Kalinove had more than 600 residents, but only 33 remain.
  • Special attention should be paid to the situation with the National Literary and Memorial Museum of Hryhorii Skovoroda in the village of Skovorodynivka. Professional restorers inspected the building and gave a preliminary opinion about the possibility of restoring the building. On July 9, specialists from the Department of Capital Construction of the Kharkiv Region inspected the building to prepare documentation for building conservation. The Ministry of Culture has also submitted documents with detailed description of all the destruction. Currently, it is necessary to make a temporary roof and close the windows in order to carry out all emergency work. Frames were also broken in other buildings on museum territory. Funds for the museum’s restoration will be sought through attracting foreign benefactors.

Tsyrkunivska Hromada

  • There has been no electricity in the hromada since the beginning of the invasion, and no gas for about two months. It is impossible to repair the electrical and gas lines due to constant shelling by the muscovites. The heating plants were destroyed, as was the school. The infrastructure of the community’s villages is almost completely destroyed.
  • About 1,500 people are left out of the 10,000-plus who lived in the hromada’s villages as of mid-February. They have the option to evacuate, but they do not want to leave, because they do not want to leave their homes and livestock. People who remain in the villages (mostly the elderly) are hiding in the cellars.
  • There are no shops left in the community, because they have all been destroyed. 
  • Local authorities are already working with volunteers to bring coal and firewood to prepare for winter.

Employees of the Slobozhansky National Park, together with residents of the Krasnokutska Hromada, conducted a census of white storks in the community at the beginning of July. Seventeen white stork couples that raised 46 chicks were recorded. Most of the couples have three or four chicks each. This year was one of the best in terms of the number of storks since it started being recorded in 2014.

Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, the Kharkiv oligarch and owner of DCH, the company that owns the Kharkiv Tractor Plant, returned to Ukraine after having urgently left for London on 10 February under the pretense of visiting his family. On 9 February 9, the car he usually drives was involved in an accident that killed a Pechenizka Hromada resident. On the day he left, one of the company’s drivers tried to take the blame, but law enforcement officers did not take this testimony into account. Now Yaroslavsky has arrived at the Maly Berezny checkpoint on the border with Slovakia. After speaking with prosecutors through his attorney, he was notified of witness status, had his DNA samples taken, and is expected to be called in for questioning soon. 

What this all means is difficult to say. There are several options: possibly Yaroslavsky has already “solved” the problem of staying clean, or, against the background of the investigation he might look like “a great benefactor of Kharkiv.” It is worth noting that he made a promise to sell his yacht and give the money to help Kharkiv sometime in March. However, there was no information about this sale. Also, there is no information about how Oleksandr Yaroslavsky helped the city during almost five months of shelling and attacks by muscovites on Kharkiv. The answer is simple: he did nothing. Therefore, any attempts to get PR around assistance by him or with the assistance of the mayor of Kharkiv (the rumors are already spreading) should be blocked.

The police detained a man who helped the muscovites correct their aim. They found an action camera, a notebook with ballistic calculations of the flights of artillery shells and MLRS, and a laser rangefinder. Additionally, on his phone they found a number of a subscriber from moscovia, recorded as “curator,” to whom the detainee sent his ballistic calculations, photos, and geotags of hits by enemy shells, particularly those that occurred in the last few days.

In the southeast of the Kharkiv Region, fighting continues in the Slovyansk and Barvinkove directions. The muscovites are shelling the villages and towns near the front line, including Pryshyb, Chepil, Barvinkove, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Husarivka, Dibrivne, Kurulka, Nova Dmytrivka, Mayak, Dovhenke, Virnopillia, and Sulihivka.

Meanwhile, the situation in the occupied territories is difficult. The so-called head of the occupiers’ so-called “temporary civil administration,” Kharkiv region gauleiter Vitaliy Hanchev, accused Hennadiy Matsehora, the likely now former gauleiter of Kuyuansk (and its former mayor), of mercantilism. According to Hanchev, he “openly sabotaged his work” and “served his own mercantile interests.” This is why he was “removed” from his post and arrested by the muscovite military. Actually, Hanchev himself handed Matsehora over to the Muscovites.

In occupied Kupyansk, internet and mobile communications have been unavailable since April. There are also problems with the central water supply. During this time, people help each other the best they can. There are problems with humanitarian aid. The muscovites create the image that Ukraine has left people to fend for themselves. People do not want to leave and abandon their homes. Ukrainian partisans recently put up patriotic postcards for Family Day. Currently, prices are very high in Kupyansk. In order to buy basic products, you need to spend 700 hryvnias. Doctors in Kupyansk work, but they mainly treat muscovites, of whom there are so many that the wards have to be freed of patients with small shrapnel wounds to make space. According to the locals, gauleiter Matsegora was arrested because he had surrendered the city and given all the hostels to the muscovite military. They no longer need them; he has done everything. The process of introducing rubles into circulation is slow, as is distribution of muscovite passports. Martial law has been declared in Kupyansk since mid-June, but the occupiers have not yet started mobilization.

A collaborator from Vovchansk, Dmytro Chyhrynov, a known criminal who goes by the nickname “Chyzh,” was detained in October with another person for kidnapping and heavy bodily harm. On 18 February, 2022, Chyhrynov was released from the pre-trial detention center on bail in the amount of 545,800 hryvnias and left for Vovchansk. This money was directed to the Armed Forces.

Oleksiy Solonetskyi is the gauleiter in the occupied village Vilcha, of the Vovchanska Hromada. He had earlier  worked in a store in Kharkiv, from where he stole goods and ran. After the Vilchi and Vovchansk had been occupied, he resold goods from moscovia, setting some of the highest prices.

The occupiers have created a “state enterprise” called “Kupyanska zaliznytsia” (Kupyansk Railway) on the section of the Pivdenna zaliznytsia track located in the occupied territories. Oleh Hlebov became “director” of this “enterprise.” He used to work as an auditor on the railway in Kupyansk before the beginning of the full-scale muscovite invasion. Apparently, according to this “leader,” the occupiers almost completely restored the railway in the occupied part of the Kharkiv region, particularly the sections between Kupyansk and Topoli, Kupyansk and Svatov, from Kupyansk in the direction of Sviatohirsk, and partially the connection in the direction of Kharkiv. At this point, the occupiers say, they cannot launch passenger transit. It is interesting that they did not report on the condition of the Belhorod – Vovchansk – Kupyansk section.

Hlebov also said that there are plans to export grain and other agricultural products to moscovia from the last harvest and new one. However, they are currently waiting for railway cars from Russian Railways for this. There are also plans to export building materials and other “client” needs.

There is information that the Ukrainian military has destroyed the railway bridge in Kupyansk with the help of HIMARS, and therefore the occupiers have problems with logistics again. However, it is not known how true this information is. I have not seen the confirmation yet.

In the occupied territories, the occupiers are waiting for money from moscovia to pay “salaries” to state employees. The tranche should arrive soon, and money should be paid for June and July. The leader of the occupation administration of the Kharkiv region, Vitaliy Hanchev, promises that doctors and teachers will receive more money than they received in Ukraine. Also, the pensioners will receive 10,000 roubles, despite the artificially low, 1 to 1.5, hryvnia-to-rouble exchange rate. According to the collaborator, a branch of MRB Bank (“registered” in the muscovite-occupied South Ossetia) has been opened. They also expect another bank from moscovia to enter the occupied territory of the Kharkiv Region.

According to information from the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, at least one person was killed and 10 injured after the shelling by muscovites on 8 July, 2022 of Kremyanets Mountain, where people had gathered to catch a mobile connection and call their relatives. Information on the number of victims and injured is being clarified.

The situation in the occupied Balakliya is complicated. Any humanitarian aid is distributed based on personal information, and the curfew starts at 14:00. Muscovites are constantly shelling the city. There is no electricity or water in the city, and you can evacuate only through the territory of moscovia, while the men are meticulously interrogated at the border.

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