Three schools shelled, one of them with a gaping hole on the side of the building. Multiple rockets raining on panicking shoppers outside a supermarket. People walking through a park forced to rush to safety as shells explode around them.
These were some of the attacks that residents of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, endured in recent days as Russian forces targeted residential areas, hitting civilian infrastructure such as schools, shops, hospitals, apartment blocks and churches.
CNN has geolocated and verified 13 incidents involving civilians over the past three days, as attacks intensified on Kharkiv, a city of about 1.5 million people. following Ukraine’s resistance.
Most of the attacks took place in the northeastern part of Kharkiv in the residential area of Saltivka. But other districts in the northwest, southeast and southwest of the city were also affected. The city’s Freedom Square, the center of public life in Kharkiv, was hit with was believed to be a cruise missile, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said.
In 24 hours, 34 civilians were killed and 285 injured – including 10 children – in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service said on Thursday morning.
As the Kharkiv offensive ramped up, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced on Wednesday that he had launched an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to Russia’s relentless bombardment of Kharkiv, including the deliberate targeting of residential areas with “jet artillery,” as a “war crime” in a late-night address on Monday.
CNN has analyzed and verified digital evidence, including videos and photos, of several indiscriminate attacks in Kharkiv.
Three schools hit by shelling in one day
At least three schools in Kharkiv were hit by Russian military strikes on Tuesday, according to videos and photos posted to social media.
In one clip, a school in the northern Saltivka neighborhood is pictured with a gaping hole in the wall, rubble and broken glass strewn across the courtyard.
“School number 17 of Kharkiv city,” someone can be heard saying in the video. “It flew right here, everything is in ruins, everything is fallen out, shell fragments everywhere, everything is in smoke.”
The other two schools hit in shelling were just over a kilometer (around 0.6 miles) apart, in an industrial district in Kharkiv’s southeastern area.
Schools have not been in session since the Russian invasion began.
Other schools were indirectly affected during the bombing of the center of Kharkiv on Tuesday. Viktor Kruglov, the founder of Ranok, a private school, said they managed to evacuate about 54 orphans from a boarding school for blind and visually impaired children just 15 minutes before the explosion.
However, 65 people are still holed up in the basement of the school – with no electricity or water due to the shelling. They’re relying on food and water brought by volunteers, according to Valentyna Butenko, head of the non-governmental organization “Right to Choose” (Pravo Vyboru).
The school is located 300 meters (approximately 985 feet) from the epicenter of the explosion in Freedom Square.