Images show Russian destruction in Cincinnati's sister city in Ukraine
Russian military targeting civilian areas
A view of the central square following shelling of the City Hall building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Russia on Tuesday stepped up shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, pounding civilian targets there. Casualties mounted and reports emerged that more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian artillery recently hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, the capital. (AP Photo/Pavel Dorogoy)
KYIV, Ukraine — Russian strikes pounded the central square in Kharkiv on Tuesday, Ukraine’s second-largest city and a sister city of Cincinnati.
Ukraine’s embattled President Voldymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of resorting to terror tactics to press Europe’s largest ground war in generations. With the Kremlin increasingly isolated by tough economic sanctions that have tanked the ruble currency, Russian troops advanced on Ukraine’s two biggest cities, including its capital Kyiv.
Cincinnati and Kharkiv have been sister cities since September 11, 1989, when Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken and Konstantin Khirnyi, leader of the Kharkiv delegation, signed documents uniting the two cities, according to the Cincinnati-Kharkiv Sister City Program, a non-profit, volunteer-driven program.
Kharkiv is the closest Ukrainian city to the Russian border. It is home to several industrial factories, including facilities that build tanks and aircraft, and there is an airbase just outside of the city. It is also home to a university.
Kharkiv is important to Russia in the narrative being pushed by the Kremlin. When protesters toppled Ukraine's pro-Russian president in 2014 in the capitol city of Kyiv, Russia shifted its focus to rally opposition to Ukraine's independence to Kharkiv. The ousted president fled to Kharkiv where he tried to orchestrate a resistance effort, which quickly fizzled.
Kharkiv is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups, including a large Jewish population that played an important role in shaping the country's independence. It served as the first capital of the "Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic," a Russian-led opposition to independence on Ukraine, which crushed the country's first attempt at independence in 1918 after World War I, according to the NY Times.
Ukraine only gained full independence in 1991, the same year the Soviet Union dissolved.