Firefighters put out a burning coffee kiosk — a result of shelling in Kharkiv on May 26.

Russian forces have pressed ahead with their offensive to capture the easternmost Ukrainian pocket in the Donbas and indiscriminately bombarded the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where they killed nine people and wounded 19, Ukrainian military officials say, as Kyiv warns that the situation in the east is even worse than generally believed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Moscow of carrying out a “genocide” in the east, where Russians were advancing on the key twin cities of Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk, and urged the West to “stop playing” with Russia and help end the war.

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address on May 26, condemned Moscow’s brutal assault on the two cities, which lie on either side of the Siverskiy Donets River, adding that its bombardment could leave the entire region “uninhabited.”

“All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia,” Zelenskiy said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on May 26 that the military situation in eastern Ukraine was even worse than people say it is.

In a live question-and-answer session with Twitter users, Kuleba also said the country needed heavy weapons now to effectively fight Russia and said peace talks with Russia were not really taking place.