Indignant over what it called Ukrainian strikes in Russian territory and following the stunning loss of its Black Sea flagship, Moscow threatened renewed missile attacks on Kyiv, where authorities said the bodies of more than 900 civilians were found outside the capital. Most had been shot dead, police said, and likely ‘simply executed’.
Russian forces prepared for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine, and fighting also went on in the pummelled southern port city of Mariupol, where locals reported seeing Russian troops digging up bodies. In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the shelling of a residential area killed seven people, including a 7-month-old child, and wounded 34, according to regional Governor Oleh Sinehubov.
Early Saturday, Kyiv’s eastern district of Darnytskie was struck, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online posting. He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene. He warned residents who have fled the capital not to return for their safety.
In the towns around Kyiv, said Andriy Nebytov, who heads the region’s police force, bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating 95% died from gunshot wounds.
“Consequently, we understand that under the (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said.
More bodies are being found every day under rubble and in mass graves, he added, with the largest number found in Bucha, more than 350. According to Nebytov, utility workers gathered and buried bodies in the Kyiv suburb while it remained under Russian control. Russian troops, he added, had been tracking down people who expressed strong pro-Ukrainian views.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian troops occupying parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south of terrorising civilians and hunting for anyone who served in Ukraine’s military or government.
“The occupiers think this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are fooling themselves,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted and never will be accepted by the entire Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.”
Officials think 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have died in the war, Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview. He said about 10,000 have been injured and it’s hard to say how many will survive.
More violence could be in store for Kyiv after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of wounding seven people and damaging about 100 residential buildings with airstrikes in Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine. Authorities in another border region of Russia also reported Ukrainian shelling Thursday.
“The number and the scale of missile attacks on objects in Kyiv will be ramped up in response to the Kyiv nationalist regime committing any terrorist attacks or diversions on the Russian territory,” Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Russia used missiles to destroy a facility for the repair and production of missile systems in Kyiv, Konashenkov said. The Ukrainian state arms manufacturer, Ukroboronprom, said Russian forces struck one of the missile workshops at the Vizar plant, located near Kyiv’s Zhuliany airport.
Ukrainian officials have not confirmed striking targets in Russia, and the reports could not be independently verified.