A day after Moscow announced it was expanding its Ukraine aims, Kharkiv's regional governor said two people were killed and 19 injured in Russian attacks.

The conflict in Ukraine has left thousands dead, forced millions to flee their homes and wrought havoc on the economy.
The conflict in Ukraine has left thousands dead, forced millions to flee their homes and wrought havoc on the economy. (AP)

Artillery strikes have pounded Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, even as Russian gas flows to Europe have resumed through the Nord Stream pipeline.

Thursday's attacks on the eastern city — scarred by weeks of Russian shelling — came after 10 days of scheduled work ended on the Nord Stream gas pipeline that had spurred fears of a permanent cut-off.

A day after Moscow announced it was expanding its aims in Ukraine, Kharkiv's regional governor said two people were killed and 19 injured, four of whom were in serious condition.

Three people were killed by strikes a day earlier in Kharkiv, where some semblance of normal life had returned in recent weeks after Ukrainian forces pushed back Russian troops from the city limits.

"We are asking Kharkiv residents to be extremely careful. The enemy is firing chaotically and brutally at the city. Stay in shelters!" the governor, Oleg Synegubov, wrote on social media.

Russian troops attacked Ukraine on February 24 and the fighting has left thousands dead, forced millions to flee their homes and wrought havoc with the economy.  Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians in what it calls a special military operation.

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Critical gas supplies

Meanwhile, the resumption of gas supplies from Russia to Europe through Germany came a day after Europe unveiled emergency measures to circumvent Russian energy "blackmail".

The German government had been worried Moscow would not reopen the taps on the Nord Stream pipeline after Russia in recent months severely curbed flows in retaliation against sanctions.

"It's working," a Nord Stream spokesperson said, without specifying the amount of gas being delivered.

In its latest package of penalties on Wednesday, the European Union targeted gold exports and froze assets at Russia's largest bank Sberbank.

Western powers have stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine but President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for more and speedier deliveries.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday Washington would send four more M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which have notably boosted Kiev's capabilities.

"Ukraine needs the firepower and the ammunition to withstand this barrage and to strike back," Austin told reporters, adding that the new shipment would bring the total of US HIMARS sent to Kiev to 16.

Russia has warned about arms supplies and said it will no longer be focused only on wresting control of the east Ukraine regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which have been partially controlled by pro-Moscow rebels for years.

READ MORE: Has Russia really weaponised natural gas?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies