As Russia intensifies its assault, heavy shelling strikes civilian areas of Ukraine's second largest city.

The Kremlin has been facing growing problems, which development experts warn could lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin taking more aggressive measures.

As Russia intensifies its assault, heavy shelling strikes civilian areas of Ukraine's second largest city.

Russia shelled residential areas in Ukraine's 2nd-largest city Monday. According to Ukrainian officials, this was an apparent escalation by the Kremlin's attack just as officials from both sides met for peace negotiations.

Social media videos showed explosions in Kharkiv (a city of 1.4million people), sending smoke into the air and shaking buildings. Others saw bodies outside of apartment buildings, and street fires. NBC News interviewed a resident to find out if they had been hiding in a bomb shelter after the barrage.

Anton Gerashchenko was a Ukrainian interior ministry advisor who posted on Facebook that there were "dozens dead and hundreds wounded." He posted a video saying that "this horror must all be seen by everyone."

NBC News confirmed that the videos were authentic but did not confirm the number of casualties.

Oleg Synegubov is the head of Kharkiv's regional administration. He stated that 11 people were killed and many more were injured in strikes against residential areas of Kharkiv. This is happening during the day, when people go to the pharmacy, grocery store, or water fountain. He told Reuters that it was a crime.

Russia repeatedly denied that it targeted civilians despite increasing accusations from Ukraine officials and others around the globe.

Kharkiv, a major Russian-speaking city in Ukraine’s northeast, is exactly the type of place Putin claims to be liberating the country's Western-leaning government.

A senior defense official stated Monday that heavy fighting is continuing in and around the city. Russian forces are trying to surround the main objective, using long-range missile firing in the process.

Reports of rocket attacks occurred as the Ukraine invasion was . This is causing increasing problems for the Kremlin. Experts have warned that this could lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin adopting more aggressive tactics.

Moscow has sent troops and armor to Ukraine after it launched an unprovoked attack on its neighbor last week. However, its advance has been thwarted by the determined resistance of Kyiv's military as well as bands civilians who joined forces to defend their homeland.

Many Russians protested, and were arrested by Putin's security forces. The Russian economy is suffering from market panic and global sanctions.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations human rights chief, stated Monday that 102 civilians including seven children had been killed in Ukraine since Thursday. She said that these figures were almost certain to be an undercount.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, over half a million people fled the 44-million-strong country in the aftermath of the Russian attack.

Russia claims it has only attacked military installations in Ukraine. While residential areas were certainly hit, Moscow had not resorted to the same tactics it used in Chechnya at the beginning of the millennium or Syria after 2015.

It destroyed the city of Grozny in Chechnya and killed thousands of people. In Syria, it was accused of targeting civilians in a deliberate and indiscriminate attack after it aided President Bashar al-Assad during the bloody civil war.

Russia denied ever attacking civilians in Syria, and claimed that its strikes were only against terrorist groups. However, there have been many evidence and testimony from activists, international human right groups, and Western officials.

The U.N. General Assembly held an emergency meeting and the Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya stated that the attack in Kharkiv was carried out using "grad multiple rocket launcher system".

Michael Kofman is the director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA. A Washington-area thinktank, he said that he believes "the worst" and that the war could become more ugly.

Kofman stated that Russian forces showed some signs of changing their strategy from the one that had failed to make inroads so far.

As cease-fire talks between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus took place at the Belarusian border on Monday, there was an apparent escalation. However, there was little hope of an immediate resolution to the conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron met with Putin Monday to ask him to stop strikes against civilians or residential buildings. According to Macron's office, Putin "confirmed that he was willing to commit" to these points.

Putin claimed that Russian forces "does not threaten civilians or strike civilian targets" and accused Ukrainian nationalists, in a statement, of using the civilian population "as a human shield" as well as "deliberately" placing weapons systems in residential areas.

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