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Emergency crews have so far rescued 30 people and recovered two bodies of the 90 people who were taking shelter in the basement at the school in the village of Bilohorivka.
“Most likely, all 60 people who remain under the rubble are now dead,” Gov. Serhiy Haidai wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks amid the rubble of a building heavily damaged by multiple Russian bombardments near a frontline in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Russian shelling also killed two boys, ages 11 and 14, in the nearby town of Pryvillia, Haidai wrote.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in recent days that Russian attacks would escalate in the lead-up to Russia’s Victory Day holiday celebrating the 1945 surrender of Nazi Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to want to proclaim some form of military victory over Ukraine when he addresses troops on Red Square on May 9.
Meanwhile, a number of Western leaders made unannounced visits to Ukraine in a show of support, including first lady Jill Biden, who met with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, on Mother’s Day.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the U.S. first lady told Zelenska, who had not appeared in public since the start of the Russian invasion. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
First Lady Jill Biden, second left, and Olena Zelenska, spouse of Ukrainian’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, join a group of children at School 6 in making tissue-paper bears to give as Mother’s Day gifts in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
Zelenska praised Biden for making a “courageous” trip, which occurred as an impromptu part of a four-day trip to Eastern Europe.
The two first ladies met in a small classroom in front of reporters before meeting in private. Zelenska and her children have remained in an undisclosed location due to safety concerns as Moscow made it a priority early in the invasion to try and assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his family.
Fox News’ Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.