Russian air strike took out TV tower in Ukraine's Kharkiv, Zelenskiy says

KHARKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -A Russian missile strike that broke in half a 240-metre (787-foot) television tower in Kharkiv on Monday is part of a deliberate effort by Moscow to make Ukraine's second largest city uninhabitable, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Dramatic footage obtained by Reuters showed the main mast of the television tower breaking off and falling to the ground in the city that has been pounded by missile and drone strikes for weeks.

The Ukrainian leader said he told U.S. President Joe Biden about the airstrike that was carried out several minutes before they spoke by telephone.

"It is Russia's clear intention to make the city uninhabitable," he said in a readout of the call published on the Telegram messaging app.

Later, in his nightly video address, the president said the attack was "an obvious attempt at intimidation so that the terror was visible to the whole city and an attempt to limit Kharkiv's access to communication and information".


The northeastern city of Kharkiv with a population of 1.3 million lies just 30 km (18 miles) from the Russian border, making it an easy target for ballistic missiles and other weapons as Ukraine's air defences have dwindled.

Its power facilities have been damaged particularly badly since Russia last month began targeting the energy system with massive strikes.

"At the moment there are interruptions to the digital television signal," regional governor Oleh Synehubov said.

There had been no casualties because its workers had taken shelter, he added.

Synehubov later reported a missile attack had triggered a fire at a poultry farm outside Kharkiv, but without casualties. And prosecutors said one person was killed in the shelling of a village southeast of the city.

Reuters footage filmed at the scene of the aftermath showed the collapsed section of the tower lying in a forested strip nearby. Buildings next to the tower had been badly damaged by falling debris.

The Service for State Special Communications said the structure of the tower had been "partially damaged" in what prosecutors said appeared to have been a strike with a Kh-59 cruise missile.

It said there was "temporarily" no television signal and that they were working to restore it, urging residents of the city and region without digital television signal to use cable or online television or the radio.

The footage obtained by Reuters did not capture the impact of a missile, but showed a cloud of smoke rise into the sky as the mast fell.

The video was verified by corroborating video from another angle showing the same moment the top of the tower collapsed.

Russia first attacked Kharkiv's television tower several times in early March 2022 soon after it launched its full-scale invasion. The signal was disrupted at the time.

Moscow has recently stepped up its attacks, while Ukraine is suffering a shortage of air defence capabilities. Kharkiv and the surrounding region have experienced the most intense strikes.

(Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi in Kharkiv and Yuliia Dysa in Gdansk; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams and Ron Popeski)