One body appeared unrecognizable. A second, with a torn yellow dress and a blue slipper blown off, lay beside a splintered wooden bench. Next to it, there was a box of half-eaten fruit, cherries and apples, speckled with blood. Inside a purse left on the bench, a mobile phone rang.

She had gone out to feed the cats when the shelling began, AP’s Cara Anna reports.

It was afternoon, a residential neighborhood, a time to get errands done. But there is nothing routine about life near the front line in Ukraine.

Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city and a short drive from the Russian border, lives with the low thunder of distant artillery and the sickening booms of shells exploding much closer to home.

Natalia Kolesnik, like other residents, learned to live with the risks. Then, in a grassy courtyard on a hot and sweaty Thursday, the shelling caught her.

She was one of three bodies on the littered ground.

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