Tragedy struck overnight Saturday as Russian drones targeted a gas station in the frontline city of Kharkiv, claiming the lives of at least seven individuals and causing extensive damage to the area, according to local authorities.
Among the victims were three children from the same family, including a 4-year-old boy and a 6-month-old baby, revealed Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov in a Telegram announcement.
The aftermath of the attack saw more than 50 residents evacuated as flames from the ignited fuel spread, engulfing an area spanning nearly 40,000 square feet, stated Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov. Efforts by firefighters and emergency responders persisted through the early hours of Saturday.
Terekhov reported three additional individuals wounded in the assault, with an emergency operations center established in a nearby school to coordinate relief efforts. Urging support for the victims, he appealed for donations of building materials, clothing, and personal hygiene items.
Acting Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko disclosed that the bodies of five victims, including the three children, were discovered in one of the residential structures, while two other fatalities occurred elsewhere. He noted that the extent of burns necessitated DNA testing for identification.
In response to the tragedy, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families, assuring them of assistance during this difficult time.
“Reality always means more than any words. An entire family died last night in a fire after an attack by Shahed [drones] on Kharkiv — parents and three children,” Zelenskyy expressed in a social media statement.
“The eldest son, Oleksii, was seven years old; the middle son, Mykhailo, was 4, and the youngest son, Pavlo, was seven months old. Children who had not yet seen life were killed by Russian lunacy. There was another family killed: a husband and wife. My condolences to all the relatives and friends,” he added.
Emphasizing accountability, Zelenskyy asserted that Russia “must be brought to justice for every life it has ruined and destroyed.”