In the smoldering ruins of a children’s clothing store, signs of Russian desperation emerge

But the Kremlin is showing growing signs of frustration in its failure to take not just Kiev but any other major city, and preparations are clearly underway for a more concerted assault.

Large amounts of artillery, including a TOS-1 thermobaric rocket launcher, have been seen moving south from Belgorod towards the Kharkiv front in recent days. Fighter jets were seen over the city on Monday.

For all its horror and criminality, Monday’s attack was not sustained – perhaps it was a demonstration of what might be in store if the resistance continues, rather than an all-out assault.

In many other parts of this great city, life went on – in a hushed, frightened way – as normally as possible.

“We are fine, it was not near us. It’s as usual as here,” said a resident of another suburb heavily affected by the fighting and shelling the day before.

“But they totally did in our school. And looting becomes a problem. When it started, everyone went shopping and stocked up, but now those supplies are running out.

He was skeptical of the dangers of a siege. “They’re not going to turn this city into Grozny. They don’t need that,” he said, pointing out that the only shells that fell near his house appeared to be stray shells.

The charred remains of school number 234, which burned down on Sunday evening, have become another widespread symbol of the battle for Kharkiv.

Some sources said it had been damaged by shelling.


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