‘They Are Erasing Streets’: Russian Attacks Bring War Nearer Kharkiv

After all-night air raid alarms, a weary Kharkiv woke up Saturday morning to a heavy gray sky and the disconcerting news that the Russian Army continued to press its advance on nearby Ukrainian territory.

All night, dull explosions from battlefields 40 miles away echoed across Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. On Saturday morning, a day after Russian forces seized several villages along the border and Ukraine rushed reinforcements to the area, the ghostly wail of air raid sirens continued to drift over the city’s deserted parks and long, empty boulevards.

Thousands of people are fleeing the border areas and arriving at shelters in Kharkiv.

Tetiana Novikova is one of them.

Until Friday, she had spent her entire 55 years in Vovchansk, a small town near the Russian border. She was born there, married there, worked in a factory there and raised two children there.

But the shelling became so terrifying that she and her family made the painful decision to abandon the home they had lived in for decades. On Friday evening, she arrived with her elderly parents, shaken, hungry and a bit lost, at a Kharkiv school that has been turned into a displaced persons’ reception center.

The only people left in Vovchansk, Ms. Novikova said, “are the old and the disabled, and they can’t move.”

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