Death toll rises in Russia strike on busy Kharkiv store

STORY: The death toll rose on Sunday after a Russian strike on a crowded DIY hardware store in Kharkiv, which also injured dozens of people, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday (May 26).

Local officials said at least 120 people were in the Epicentr hypermarket on Saturday (May 25) when two guided bombs struck, causing a massive fire.

This surveillance video shows the moment they hit.

At least ten of the dead were unidentified on Sunday morning, they said.

In a post on the Telegram app, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said 16 people were still missing after the strike.

It took 16 hours to extinguish the flames, which raged over an area of more than 15,000 square yards, he said.

The past week has seen a rise in Russian strikes on Ukraine's second city after Russian troops stormed across the border, opening a new front just north of it.

Andrii Kudinov runs a nearby store and witnessed the strikes. "There was panic everywhere," he says.

It was Saturday lunchtime and it's gardening season, so the place was busy.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a plea to Ukraine's Western allies to help boost air defenses to keep cities safe.

A separate early Saturday evening missile strike hit a residential building in the centre of the city of 1.3 million, wounding at least 25 people.

Russia has bombarded Kharkiv, which lies less than 20 miles from its border, throughout the war, having reached the outskirts in a failed attempt to capture it in 2022.

Rescuers, medics and journalists occasionally had to rush away from the scene of both strikes and take cover on the ground for fear of another one, as has occurred during several recent Russian attacks.

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians, but thousands have been killed and injured in the 27 months since it invaded Ukraine.