Kharkov air defense struggled to prevent Russia’s `missile rain`.

Kharkov air defense struggled to prevent Russia's `missile rain`. 0

(Dan Tri) – Ukraine is working every hour to prevent Russia’s repeated missile attacks in Kharkov while calling on the West to quickly provide a larger number of advanced air defense systems.

Rescuers search for survivors after a missile attack in Kharkov, Ukraine on January 23 (Photo: Washington Post).

The soldier nicknamed Grandpa of the air defense unit, about 60 years old, had just started his shift in a snowy forest near the Russian border in the early morning of January 23 when he saw a bright light flashing in the distance.

The soldier knew it was a ballistic missile, launched from inside Russia.

Seconds later, the rocket slammed into Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, flattening a building and destroying other civilian infrastructure.

`I understand the missiles will fly high and attack people but I can’t do anything to stop that from happening,` the soldier said, adding `the pain of that helplessness is really

Russian forces attacked Kharkiv, nearly 50 kilometers south of the border, three times on January 23: first at 4 a.m., then shortly after 7 a.m. and again near 10 p.m.

The attacks, which Ukraine said were a type of hybrid attack carried out partly from S-300 systems inside Russia, are the latest in a series of recent attacks aimed at exploiting weaknesses in

The missile attacks show that Russia is becoming more and more determined in its special military campaign in Ukraine, preventing Kiev from pursuing an independent, democratic future within the European Union (EU).

The use of such systems came under scrutiny on January 24, after Russia accused Kiev of shooting down a military transport in nearby Belgorod, which Moscow said was carrying dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Easiest target

For Russia, Kharkiv is one of the easiest targets.

This city is so close to the border that even modern air defense systems like the US Patriot that Ukrainian forces use in Kiev will have difficulty responding.

Soldier Grandpa belongs to the 113th Territorial Defense Brigade, which is tasked with protecting the skies north of Kharkov city.

This mobile system mounted on the back of the truck can only attack targets moving below the speed of sound.

Others target Kharkiv itself, where Moscow has attacked strongly but has not yet gained control.

Makhno, 38, commander of the air defense unit, said that over the past month, more and more diversionary groups – consisting of 5-20 Russian soldiers at a time – have crossed the border into Ukraine.

In just the past four weeks, rocket attacks in Kharkiv have destroyed two hotels and damaged hundreds of buildings.

On the afternoon of January 23, at a military position between Kharkiv and the border, soldiers in the brigade’s air defense unit – dressed in white snowsuits to blend in with the winter scene – walked around, preparing

A person stood on the truck bed, looking through binoculars to observe the incoming UAV and missiles.

He said the slow supply of weapons by the United States and the West had put his army in a difficult situation.

Another soldier, nicknamed Strilok, said that as the missiles headed toward the city, `we definitely felt like we couldn’t do anything.`

In Kharkov now, ambulance teams wait hourly for shelling and a new year of war

Once again, the air defense unit north of the city saw missiles heading towards Kharkov.

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