Live updates from Ukraine as Russia bombs gas pipeline in Kharkiv

Dreaded ‘environmental disaster’ as Russians blow up Ukrainian gas pipeline

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

The state Communications and Information Special Protection Service warned that the blast, which it said resembled a mushroom cloud, could cause an “environmental disaster” and advised residents to cover their windows with a damp cloth or gauze and drink plenty of fluids.

Huge explosions lit up the pre-dawn sky south of Kiev early on Sunday. One of the explosions occurred near Zhuliany airport and the mayor of Vasylkiv, about 25 miles south of the capital, said an oil depot had been hit.

Ukraine’s chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova said Russian forces were unable to take Kharkiv, where a fierce battle was underway.

The city of 1.5 million people is located 25 miles from the Russian border.

The United Nations says it has confirmed at least 240 civilian casualties, including at least 64 people killed, in fighting in Ukraine that erupted since Russia invaded on Thursday – although it believes the ‘true numbers are considerably higher’ as many casualty reports remain to be confirmed.

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