Kharkiv represents the "absolute madness" of the war in Ukraine - so said Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, after making a surprise visit to the battered city in the country's northeast.
She was accompanied by her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, as she travelled on an intercity train from Kyiv to Kharkiv.
Once in the city, Baerbock visited children in a hospital and met with a group of teenagers. She also confirmed that Berlin will send more weapons to Kyiv.
Baerbock’s visit followed a German announcement last week that Berlin will supply around 40 Marder armoured personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine in this year’s first quarter.
Russia, which hasn't hidden its indignation at the Western arms shipments, insists that the weapons won't change the course of the war. On Tuesday, Moscow claimed to have destroyed a US-supplied radar and artillery system on the Donetsk front.
Moscow's troops have also partially destroyed a multi-story residential building in Kherson, a city and a citizenry that Moscow declared Russian just a few months ago. But after losing it to advancing Ukrainian troops, the bombs have not stopped falling. The Ukrainian authorities have set up mobile shelters throughout the city to accommodate the victims.
Russia is now looking to make up for its defeat in Kherson by taking Bakhmut, a city with hardly any inhabitants left. The Ukrainian army is resisting, tooth and nail, the onslaught of the Russian army and Wagner mercenaries.