Timeline: Russian Missile Attacks on Kharkiv Through the New Year and January; At Least 205 Injured, 16 Dead

Yana Sliemzina - 31 January 2024 | 19:11

Since December 29, Russian attacks on Kharkiv have intensified. Drones and ballistic missiles Russia launched since the edge of 2023 and during January injured 205 people and killed 16.  

December 29-30. Russians attack Ukraine with North Korean missiles, damage Kharkiv Palace Hotel

On December 29, the most major shelling of Ukraine after February 24, 2022, happened, according to Slovo i Dilo’s infographic. The outlet reports: Russians launched over 120 missiles of different kinds and more than 20 drones, trying to hit infrastructure objects and residential quarters in Ukrainian cities. Explosions hit Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Cherkasy, and Odesa. That morning, the Russian army attacked some of buildings in these cities several times.

Three series of missile attacks have been documented in Kharkiv: around 5 a.m., at 6:58 a.m., and at 7:08 a.m. Russians hit the city over 20 times, killing three men and injuring another 13 people. The shelling damaged 38 buildings, including 25 residential buildings, plus an oncology center. 

Consequences of Russian attack on Kharkiv on January 29 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

“After 5 in the morning, the alarm went off, and security arrived. Then, our employees came and saw the damage the clinics sustained,” says Natalia Yermolaieva, the oncology center director. 

“26 windows were blown off. We’ve installed them at the beginning of 2023.” 

Natalia Yermolaieva, the oncology center director

That’s the second time Russians damaged the inpatient department in the oncology center. The first time was at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. 

In their news, the Russian state they are destroying military infrastructure: places where Ukrainian troops, command centers, and military objects are located.

As such, after shelling Kharkiv Palace and a residential apartment at Hirshmana Street, the Russian Ministry of Defence said that the representatives of the GUR (the Main Intelligence Directorate and Armed Forces of Ukraine), along with 200 foreign mercenaries, resided in the hotel, where they planned attacks on Belgorod. 

Message from Russian MoD / Source: their Telegram

Andrii Yusov, the representative of the GUR, answered these claims, saying, “During another terrorist act of the Russian Federation and a missile strike on Kharkiv, no employees of GUR suffered, as well as no fighters of a special GUR unit ‘Kraken’.” Yusov reminded that Russia simply attacked civilian objects in Kharkiv downtown — again. 

Russian attack damaged Kharkiv Palace on December 30 / Photo: Gwara Media’s reporters

These attacks injured 30 people, including two children, 14 and 16. 

“Since the first day of the war, I’ve been saying that this is genocide, this is terrorism.”

Ihor Terekhov, Kharkiv Mayor

“Since the first day of the war, I’ve been saying that this is genocide, this is terrorism, and another evidence we, sadly, receive is that [they] shoot powerful missiles at civilian infrastructure. Such destruction before the New Year holidays is terrible terrorism,” said Ihor Terekhov, Kharkiv Mayor, commenting on the situation to Gwara Media. 

In this attack, Russians, for the first time, utilized Iskander-M missiles with a North Korean origin. 

December 31 & January 2-3. Russian missile attack injures 61, damages people’s homes, residential schools, recreational areas

This series of Russian missile attacks on Kharkiv damaged residential apartments, educational facilities, hospitals, a children’s camp, Children’s Small Southern Railway, a cafe, administrative facilities, and hotels. 

On the night of December 31, around 00:54 a.m., the Air Force reported that Russian UAVs were moving towards Kharkiv and encouraged the city residents to stay in shelters. 

After that, Russian Shahed drones hit the city four times. Synehubov said there were no casualties, but the attacks damaged a bank, Metrology Institute, residential buildings, administrative facilities, and a cafe. 

Damage Kharkiv downtown sustained in Russian shelling on December 31 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

On the morning of January 2, Kharkiv residents heard another series of explosions. The governor reported that the authorities documented at least six hits in the Shevchenkivskyi district of the city. 

“We were sleeping when the explosion happened. Woke up because of it — and everything was destroyed around us. The doors stuck, [we] couldn’t get out, and everything [was] burning outside. A [fragment of missile] hit the flat. There’s no flat anymore, no car, no garage either. You know, there are people, and there are animals. But you can’t even call them [Russians — ed.] animals. They are creatures. Nothing human about them,” said a resident of one of the homes destroyed in a Russian attack in a conversation with Gwara Media. 

“We were sleeping when the explosion happened. Woke up because of it — and everything was destroyed around us. The door stuck, we couldn’t get out, and everything was burning outside.” 

A resident of one of the destroyed homes

The Russians killed three and injured 61 people in a strike. Victoria Tymoshenko, 84, a drama theater actress, was among the dead.  

Another resident of the building that was damaged in this Russian attack said, “Four of us were in the flat — my wife and I, my daughter and granddaughter. My daughter has a broken leg and was injured with glass from a blown-off window. My granddaughter also has cuts [because of it].” 

On January 2, Russian missile attack damaged and destroyed multiple buildings in Kharkiv / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

Later, on January 2, the Russian army hit Kharkiv again, damaging civilian infrastructure — again. A school in the Osnovianskyi district was partially destroyed. No casualties have been reported. 

On January 2, Russian missile attack damaged and destroyed multiple buildings in Kharkiv / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

Russian missiles struck Kharkiv on the evening of the next day, January 3, blowing out windows in a residential apartment building and an educational facility. No casualties have been documented there. 

January 8-16. Russian attacks injure journalists, damage a children’s health center and another hotel 

On January 7 at 10:18 p.m., the Russian army hit Kharkiv with S-300 missiles. On the morning of the next day, around 7 a.m., they attacked the city again, with at least four missile strikes, damaging a local enterprise and an educational facility. Two people were injured. The missiles damaged the Children’s Railway again. 

On January 9, Russian rockets hit again and ruined a medical facility and a cafeteria of a local children’s health center

Around 10:30 p.m. on January 10, the Russian military attacked the Kyivskyi district of Kharkiv from Belgorod Oblast with S-300 missiles. Both missiles hit the hotel downtown: one struck near the hotel, and another destroyed the outbuilding located to the side. 

Russia attacked the center of Kharkiv again on January 10, 2024 / Photo: Hnat Holyk for Gwara Media

This attack injured 13 people, including Turkey and Georgia citizens who worked as a journalist for a Turkish media outlet. 

A week later, on January 16, the Russian army targeted a three-story building of a medical facility that is not operational right now. One missile hit the hospital and partially destroyed it. People were stuck under the debris.

The rescue teams managed to save one woman and evacuate 30 people. Overall, this attack injured 17 people, including 14 who were hospitalized and a woman with severe trauma [as of January 19 — ed.] The attack also damaged 19 buildings: windows had shattered, roofs fractured, facades of the houses cut with the debris of a missile, and residents’ flats destroyed to the ground.  

The consequences of Russian shelling of Kharkiv on January 16 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

January 23. Three series of Russian missile strikes kill 11 and injure 65 

On January 23, 2023, the Russian army hit Kharkiv with three series of missiles. 

The first explosions were heard at around 04:00 a.m.; Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the Russian army struck a residential and civilian area.

The consequences of Russian shelling Kharkiv on January 23 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media 

Russians launched more missiles at around 07:14 a.m. People in Kharkiv heard at least six explosions. The missile attack destroyed the entrances to a multi-story building in the Kyivskyi district of Kharkiv. Electricity shut down in part of the city, and Kharkivoblenergo [a regional power distribution company in the Kharkiv region, owned by the state — ed.] was restoring power for the buildings there for several days. 

The consequences of Russian shelling Kharkiv on January 23 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media 

In these two hits, Russian missiles injured up to 56 and killed 11 people

The rescue operation after Russia shelled Kharkiv twice on January 23 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of Kharkiv regional police, pointed out Russians hit Kharkiv twice in the same locations, injuring police officers who were sorting through the rubble in the aftermath of the first attack. 

Read more: In Photos: Russia Shelled Kharkiv Twice This Night, Injuring Up to 51 People and Killing Five 

The final Russian attack of the 24 hours hit at around 10 p.m. The missile attack wounded nine people, including a four-year-old girl. The shelling wounded a journalist from the Nakypilo media outlet, Anna Miasnykova. 

January 30. Russian Geran-2 drones hit two Kharkiv districts, injuring at least four people  

Finally, on January 30, Russia hit Kharkiv with six drones at around 10:40 p.m., damaging buildings in the Slobidskyi and Saltivskyi districts. 

Russians used Geran-2/Geranium-2 drones [Shahed drones — ed.]. Drone attacks injured four people. 

In the Slobidksyi district, the drones smashed windows in a high-rise residential apartment building, injuring an 85-year-old man. A 46-year-old woman had an acute stress reaction after the attack. The medics treated both on the spot. The missiles damaged a non-residential building, a supermarket, cars, and a cafe. 

Consequences of russian shelling in Kharkiv on January 30 / Photo: Ivan Samoilov for Gwara Media

In Saltivskyi districts, drones hit a private household, causing an acute stress reaction in the owners of the house, a 58-year-old man and his 61-year-old woman. They refused hospitalization. 

Why Russians shell Kharkiv more 

Russians intensify the shelling of Kharkiv because that’s one of their tactics of terrifying the population, demotivating them, and spreading the panics among the city and region residents, believes Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Kharkiv regional military administration. 

“Perhaps it’s artillery preparations for something. But [if so,] it should be precise: hitting military positions, fortifications, Defence Forces. More likely, [the shelling] aims to distract us, cause maximum hurt to the civilian population, or cause panic,” he said. 

“The shelling aims to distract us, hurt the civilian population, or cause panic.”

Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Kharkiv Oblast 

Also, according to Syniehubov, Russians might be using such a tactic to divert the attention of soldiers in air defense units and Defence Forces from directions where Russians have been trying to conduct a successful offensive for a long time already. 

Authors: Daria Levchenko, Yana Sliemzina 

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