Ukrainian officials said Russia targeted residential buildings in the city of Pokrovsk overnight in what is called a “double-tap” strike – which describes two separate attacks on the same target, with a brief interval in between.
This tactic gives time for first responders to arrive at the scene of the initial blast, only to be caught up in the second. At least 31 police officers and seven rescue workers have been injured in Pokrovsk, according to officials.
Reporting from Kharkiv in April 2022, shortly after the war began, a CNN team witnessed a double-tap strike first hand, while documenting the work of Ukrainian paramedics responding to Russian shelling.
CNN’s Clarissa Ward and her team traveled with Alexandra Rudkovskaya and Vladimir Venzel, both young paramedics, to the site of a Russian strike on a residential complex. They had received a call for help from a Ukrainian man wounded by the blast.
As CNN’s team arrived at the site, observing the paramedics trying to locate the injured man in the damaged building, another strike was launched – hitting the building next door.
After fleeing the scene, CNN later found Rudkovskaya and Venzel treating the injured man by the side of a road some distance away. The back window of their ambulance had been shattered by the blast. The paramedics asked the injured man various questions, but he was unable to make sense of them: The explosion had deafened him.
Asked how they cope with working in such dangerous conditions, the paramedics said it was their duty.
“It’s normal. This is our work. Of course it’s scary, like for everyone. Today you were with us in the hottest place – in the oven. But we’re still alive, thank God,” said Rudkovskaya.
While her mother had begged Rudkovskaya, her only daughter, to leave that line of work and go to a safer place, Rudkovskaya said she could not fathom doing so.
According to local officials, out of the 250 ambulances in Kharkiv at the time, 50 had been rendered inoperable due to injuries sustained by explosions – a measure of the prevalence of Russian double-tap strikes in the early months of the war.
Watch the full report here: