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Russia pummels exhausted Ukrainian forces with smaller attacks ahead of a springtime advance

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Russia pummels exhausted Ukrainian forces with smaller attacks ahead of a springtime advance
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Russia pummels exhausted Ukrainian forces with smaller attacks ahead of a springtime advance

2024-04-19 13:03 Last Updated At:15:50

Russian troops are ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces to prepare to seize more land this spring and summer as muddy fields dry out and allow tanks, armored vehicles and other heavy equipment to roll to key positions across the countryside.

With the war in Ukraine now in its third year and a vital U.S. aid package for Kyiv slowed down in Congress, Russia has increasingly used satellite-guided gliding bombs — which allow planes to drop them from a safe distance — to pummel Ukrainian forces beset by a shortage of troops and ammunition.

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FILE - In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers carrying flamethrowers ride an armored vehicle in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Russian troops are ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces to prepare to seize more land this spring and summer as muddy fields dry out and allow tanks, armored vehicles and other heavy equipment to roll to key positions across the countryside.

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 22nd Mechanized Brigade prepare to launch the Poseidon H10 Middle-range drone near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 22nd Mechanized Brigade prepare to launch the Poseidon H10 Middle-range drone near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers fire flamethrowers at Ukrainian positions in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers fire flamethrowers at Ukrainian positions in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this video frame grab released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 26, 2024, a Russian soldier in an undisclosed location fires an anti-tank missile at Ukrainian forces. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)

FILE - In this video frame grab released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 26, 2024, a Russian soldier in an undisclosed location fires an anti-tank missile at Ukrainian forces. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers carry shells to fire at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on March 25, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers carry shells to fire at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on March 25, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian National Guard soldiers simulate an assault during tactical training at a shooting range in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko, File)

FILE - Ukrainian National Guard soldiers simulate an assault during tactical training at a shooting range in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko, File)

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE – This frame grab from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 20, 2024, shows one of its Su-25 ground attack jets firing rockets during a mission over Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE – This frame grab from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 20, 2024, shows one of its Su-25 ground attack jets firing rockets during a mission over Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 19, 2024, Russian soldiers participate in a military exercise somewhere in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 19, 2024, Russian soldiers participate in a military exercise somewhere in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - A Ukrainian officer with the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Mariupol Brigade fires rockets from a pickup truck at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 5, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - A Ukrainian officer with the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Mariupol Brigade fires rockets from a pickup truck at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 5, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this image taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 21, 2024, a Russian rocket launcher fires at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 21, 2024, a Russian rocket launcher fires at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the annual meeting of Russian Interior Ministry Board in Moscow on April 2, 2024. After securing another term in a preordained election in March, Putin vowed to extend Moscow's gains in Ukraine to carve out a "sanitary zone" protecting Russian border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the annual meeting of Russian Interior Ministry Board in Moscow on April 2, 2024. After securing another term in a preordained election in March, Putin vowed to extend Moscow's gains in Ukraine to carve out a "sanitary zone" protecting Russian border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – A Su-25 plane is seen firing rockets over Ukraine in a video frame grab. The video was taken from inside another Su-25 plane and released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Jan. 22, 2024. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE – A Su-25 plane is seen firing rockets over Ukraine in a video frame grab. The video was taken from inside another Su-25 plane and released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Jan. 22, 2024. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Despite Moscow's advantage in firepower and personnel, a massive ground offensive would be risky and — Russian military bloggers other experts say — unnecessary if Russia can stick to smaller attacks across the front line to further drain the Ukraine military.

“It’s potentially a slippery slope where you get like a death by a thousand cuts or essentially death by a thousand localized offensives,” Michael Kofman, a military expert with the Carnegie Endowment, said in a recent podcast to describe the Russian tactic. If the Russians stick to their multiple pushes across the front, he said, “eventually they may find more and more open terrain.”

Last summer’s counteroffensive by Ukraine was doomed when advancing Ukrainian units got trapped on vast Russian minefields and massacred by artillery and drones. The Russians have no reason to make that same mistake.

Last November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered his forces to build trenches, fortifications and bunkers behind the more than 1,000-kilometer front line, but analysts say construction work moved slowly, leaving areas unprotected.

“If the defensive lines had been built in advance, the Ukrainians wouldn’t have retreated in such a way,” Ukrainian military expert Oleh Zhdanov said. “We should have been digging trenches through the fall and it would have stemmed Russian advances. Now everything is exposed, making it very dangerous.”

In a recent podcast, Kofman also said that Kyiv is “quite behind on effectively entrenching across the front” and “Ukraine does not have good secondary lines.”

After capturing the Ukrainian stronghold of Avdiivka, Russian troops are zeroing in on the hill town of Chasiv Yar, which would allow them to move toward Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, key cities in the Kyiv-controlled part of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Russia illegally annexed Donetsk and three other regions in 2022, and the Kremlin sees fully controlling that region as a priority.

Zhdanov said Ukraine doesn't have the firepower to repel Russian attacks.

“They promised to have a defensive line 10 kilometers (6 miles) behind Avdiivka where our troops could get and dig in, but there is none,” he said.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, head of U.S. European Command, sounded the alarm before Congress last week, warning that Ukraine will be outgunned 10 to one by Russia in a matter of weeks if Congress does not approve more military aid.

After securing another term in a preordained election in March, President Vladimir Putin vowed to carve out a “sanitary zone” to protect Russia's border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions.

Putin didn't give any specifics, but Russian military bloggers and security analysts said that along with a slow push across the Donetsk region, Moscow could also try to capture Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, which Russia tried and failed to take in the opening days of the war.

In a possible sign of a looming attack on Kharkiv, a city of 1.1 million about 30 kilometers (some 20 miles) south of the border, Russia has ramped up strikes on power plants in the area, inflicting significant damage and causing blackouts.

Ukraine doesn't have enough air defense to protect Kharkiv and other cities, and the constant Russian strikes are part of Moscow's strategy to “suffocate” it by destroying its infrastructure and forcing its residents to leave, Zhdanov said.

Retired Lt. Gen. Andrei Gurulev, now on the defense committee of Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, acknowledged that capturing Kharkiv is a major challenge, and he predicted the military would try to surround it.

“It can be enveloped and blockaded,” he said, adding that taking Kharkiv would open the way for a push deep into Ukraine and require more Russian troops.

After Putin’s order for “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists last fall proved so unpopular that hundreds of thousands fled abroad to avoid being drafted, the Kremlin tried a different approach: It promised relatively high wages and other benefits to beef up its forces with volunteer soldiers. The move appears to have paid off as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military recruited 540,000 volunteers in 2023.

“There are no plans for a new wave of mobilization,” Viktor Bondarev, deputy head of defense affairs committee in the upper house of parliament, said in remarks carried by state RIA Novosti news agency. “We are doing well with the combat capability that we have.”

Follow AP's coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

FILE - In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers carrying flamethrowers ride an armored vehicle in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers carrying flamethrowers ride an armored vehicle in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 22nd Mechanized Brigade prepare to launch the Poseidon H10 Middle-range drone near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 22nd Mechanized Brigade prepare to launch the Poseidon H10 Middle-range drone near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers fire flamethrowers at Ukrainian positions in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 9, 2024, Russian soldiers fire flamethrowers at Ukrainian positions in an undisclosed location in Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers with the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this video frame grab released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 26, 2024, a Russian soldier in an undisclosed location fires an anti-tank missile at Ukrainian forces. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)

FILE - In this video frame grab released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 26, 2024, a Russian soldier in an undisclosed location fires an anti-tank missile at Ukrainian forces. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers carry shells to fire at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on March 25, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers carry shells to fire at Russian positions on the front line, near the city of Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on March 25, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian National Guard soldiers simulate an assault during tactical training at a shooting range in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko, File)

FILE - Ukrainian National Guard soldiers simulate an assault during tactical training at a shooting range in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko, File)

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen with the 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade fire a mortar at Russian forces on the front line near the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on March 3, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE – This frame grab from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 20, 2024, shows one of its Su-25 ground attack jets firing rockets during a mission over Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE – This frame grab from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Feb. 20, 2024, shows one of its Su-25 ground attack jets firing rockets during a mission over Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 19, 2024, Russian soldiers participate in a military exercise somewhere in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 19, 2024, Russian soldiers participate in a military exercise somewhere in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - A Ukrainian officer with the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Mariupol Brigade fires rockets from a pickup truck at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 5, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - A Ukrainian officer with the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Mariupol Brigade fires rockets from a pickup truck at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on March 5, 2024. The outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian troops are struggling to halt Russian advances as a new U.S. aid package is stuck in Congress. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this image taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 21, 2024, a Russian rocket launcher fires at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - In this image taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 21, 2024, a Russian rocket launcher fires at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Russian troops have been ramping up pressure on exhausted Ukrainian forces across the front line to prepare to take more land this spring and summer. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the annual meeting of Russian Interior Ministry Board in Moscow on April 2, 2024. After securing another term in a preordained election in March, Putin vowed to extend Moscow's gains in Ukraine to carve out a "sanitary zone" protecting Russian border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the annual meeting of Russian Interior Ministry Board in Moscow on April 2, 2024. After securing another term in a preordained election in March, Putin vowed to extend Moscow's gains in Ukraine to carve out a "sanitary zone" protecting Russian border regions from Ukrainian shelling and incursions. (Sergei Savostyanov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – A Su-25 plane is seen firing rockets over Ukraine in a video frame grab. The video was taken from inside another Su-25 plane and released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Jan. 22, 2024. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

FILE – A Su-25 plane is seen firing rockets over Ukraine in a video frame grab. The video was taken from inside another Su-25 plane and released by the Russian Defense Ministry on Jan. 22, 2024. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday in the latest public display of support for Ukraine by its Western partners, although deliveries of promised weapons and ammunition from NATO countries like Germany have been slow and have left Ukraine vulnerable to a recent Russian push along parts of the front line.

Annalena Baerbock renewed Berlin’s calls for partners to send more air defense systems, as Russia pounds Ukraine with missiles, glide bombs and rockets. Germany is the second-biggest supplier of military aid to Ukraine after the United States.

Ukraine’s depleted troops are trying to hold off a fierce Russian offensive along the eastern border in one of the most critical phases of the war, which is stretching into its third year.

Germany recently pledged a third U.S.-made Patriot battery for Ukraine, but Kyiv officials say they are still facing an alarming shortfall of air defenses against the Russian onslaught.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Kremlin’s forces are still focusing their efforts on the eastern Donetsk province and northeastern Kharkiv region, where explosive-laden Russian glide bombs are wreaking destruction on military and civilian areas.

“This brings us back again and again to the need for air defense — for additional defense systems that could significantly mitigate the difficulties for our warriors and the threat to our cities and communities,” Zelenskyy said late Monday on social media.

Zelenskyy claimed Ukraine’s forces are still in control of the contested areas, though Russia says it has captured a series of border villages.

It was not possible to independently verify either side's battlefield claims.

Baerbock had planned to visit Kharkiv on Tuesday but the trip had to be called off for security reasons, German news agency dpa reported. Almost 11,000 people have been evacuated from Kharkiv border areas since Russia launched its offensive actions there on May 10.

A Russian overnight drone attack hit transport infrastructure in Kharkiv city, the regional capital, damaging over 25 trucks, buses, and other vehicles, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said Tuesday. Seven people were injured, he said.

Ukraine’s general staff said the frequency of Russian attacks in Kharkiv slowed on Monday, though fighting continued.

Baerbock was due to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv. Germany has been resisting appeals from Ukrainian officials to provide Taurus missiles, which are equipped with stealth technology and have a range of up to 500 kilometers (300 miles).

The German- and Swedish-made missiles would be able to reach targets deep in Russia from Ukrainian soil. But Berlin has balked at that prospect, saying that sending the missiles would bring a risk of it becoming directly involved in the war.

The restriction on not allowing Ukraine to fire at Russia has denied Kyiv the ability to strike at Russian troops and equipment massing for attacks on the other side of the border, a Washington-based think tank said.

“These U.S. and Western policies are severely compromising Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against current Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv (region) or any area along the international border where Russian forces may choose to conduct offensive operations in the future,” the Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment late Monday.

Baerbock said in a statement that Ukraine’s prospective membership of the European Union is “the necessary geopolitical consequence of Russia’s illegal war of aggression.”

Ukraine has made “impressive progress” and must not let up in reforms to the judicial system, in fighting corruption and on media freedom, she said.

Germany will host a reconstruction conference for Ukraine next month. Rebuilding the country is predicted to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Geir Moulson contributed to this report from Berlin.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Police officers inspect the site of the Russian missile attack, with a dead body in the foreground, in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. The missile hit a recreation area, killing five including one pregnant, and injuring 16. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

Police officers inspect the site of the Russian missile attack, with a dead body in the foreground, in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. The missile hit a recreation area, killing five including one pregnant, and injuring 16. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

A woman cries as police officers inspect the site of the Russian missile attack that hit a recreation area killing five including one pregnant, injuring 16 in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

A woman cries as police officers inspect the site of the Russian missile attack that hit a recreation area killing five including one pregnant, injuring 16 in the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

Destroyed resort compound is seen from above after a Russian rocket attack near Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. According to officials, several people were killed in this attack. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Destroyed resort compound is seen from above after a Russian rocket attack near Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 19, 2024. According to officials, several people were killed in this attack. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

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