How Kharkiv stands up to Putin

Vladimir Putin’s brutal effort to destroy Kharkiv is a warning to Europe and to America: The Russian dictator’s thirst for territorial conquest must be stopped — before it expands beyond Ukraine.

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Columnists

August 12, 2022 - 2:26 PM

A Ukrainian expert climbs the stairs of the damaged building of a clinical medical laboratory following a Russian rocket strike in Kharkiv on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

KHARKIV, Ukraine — If you wonder why the United States should keep supporting Ukraine, let me describe my recent visit to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and long the cultural and academic capital of the country.

In May, Ukrainian soldiers drove the Russian military back from the city, which is only 25 miles from the Russian border. Yet the Russians still shell Kharkiv and its suburbs nightly (and sometimes by day) from across the border. They specifically target civilian infrastructure: hospitals, schools, universities, apartment towers, and municipal buildings, driving half the population of 1.5 million out of the city.

When I checked into my small hotel in the city center, the manager told me: “If you hear booms at night, just ignore them. But if the hotel shakes, go to the shelter.” This is the norm.

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