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Top of Kharkiv’s giant TV tower crashes to ground after Russian missile strike

The top section of a giant television tower in Kharkiv has crashed to the ground after the structure was hit by a Russian missile, a Ukrainian official says.

Video circulating on social media shows the moment the top of the mast broke, rotated through 180 degrees, and fell to earth. Smoke could already be seen billowing from the structure where it had apparently been struck by what Kharkiv prosecutors said was a Kh-59 cruise missile.

Subsequent videos also posted on social media show the mast lying where it fell, surrounded by trees at the foot of the tower.

The structure – which stood more than 240 meters high – was erected in the early 1980s, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said staff at the tower had been in the shelter at the time of the attack and no one had been injured. The digital TV signal in the city was “suffering interruptions,” he added.

Kharkiv – located just 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the border with Russia – has seen a big increase in Russian strikes since the start of the year.

A month ago, the city’s main power plant was destroyed in a Russian strike, along with all electricity substations in the city, according to the mayor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a phone conversation with his US counterpart Joe Biden, during which he told the American president about the attack on the TV tower, said Russia was trying to “make the city uninhabitable.”

These almost daily barrages on Ukraine’s second largest city are one of the reasons Kyiv has made air defenses among its top priorities for new US military aid.

The US Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation worth $60 billion after it was approved in the House on the weekend.

The Pentagon has said it can get materiel moving “within days” of receiving the green light.

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