Ukraine's Kharkiv builds classrooms underground to protect students from missiles

KHARKIV (Reuters) - Forced to shield its school-children from the threat of supersonic Russian missiles fired at short range, Ukraine's eastern metropolis of Kharkiv has built dozens of classrooms in metro stations to allow some pupils to return to in-person teaching.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, had a population of more than 1.4 million before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Parts of the city lie less than 20 miles from the Russian border. Its northern suburbs were scarred by fighting.

Kharkiv's schools have been forced to teach online throughout the war as some Russian missiles can reach the city in under a minute - not enough time to get from many classrooms to a shelter.

Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Tuesday that 60 schoolrooms been created in Kharkiv's metro stations ahead of the new school year in September, creating space for more than 1,000 children to study in-person.

"The children will be able to socialise with each other, find a common language, communicate. I absolutely support this," said Iryna Loboda, the mother of a schoolboy outside a metro station in the city centre where classrooms have been built.

(Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi, writing by Max Hunder, Editing by Angus MacSwan)