kyiv accuses Moscow of using civilians as human shields

kyiv accuses Moscow of using civilians as human shields
kyiv accuses Moscow of using civilians as human shields

Police in the Kharkiv region, the target of a Russian assault for a week, said Thursday that the Russian army was detaining 35 to 40 civilians in the town of Vovchansk, using them as “human shields” to protect a headquarters. military.

“Civilians who tried to flee Russian-occupied territory are in captivity. According to initial data, there are 35-40. The Russians are holding them together in one place as human shields, because it is close to their command center,” the head of the regional police investigation department, Serguii Bolvinov, said on television. “And we know that the Russians cynically shot an elderly man who was trying to flee into territory controlled by Ukraine,” he added, assuring that the man was shot in the head.

These comments clarify those of the Minister of the Interior who had reported in the morning of civilians taken prisoner in Vovchansk by the Russians, as well as at least one summary execution. AFP is unable to confirm these accusations from an independent Source. Russia did not immediately react. According to Serguii Bolvinov, these “hostages” are above all elderly people.

Russia launched a new land offensive against the Kharkiv region last week, penetrating from the north into two border sectors, those of Vovchansk and Lukiantsi, a locality located around thirty kilometers from the city of Kharkiv. The head of the military administration of Vovchansk, Tamaz Gambarashvili, was injured on Thursday during a strike on a nearby village, the regional governor said. Five other men were injured, including two doctors.

Between May 9 and 15, the Russians conquered 257 km2 in the Kharkiv region alone, according to an AFP analysis on Thursday based on data provided by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW). In addition, 21 km2 were occupied in other areas of the front, according to the same Source.

Russian soldiers have been accused of numerous documented abuses in Ukraine, in particular a massacre of civilians in Bucha, a suburb of kyiv occupied by the Russians at the start of their invasion. Moscow has denied these crimes committed in the spring of 2022, claiming to see them as staged despite the numerous testimonies, clues and evidence implicating the Russian military.

In northern Ukraine, in the village of Yaguidné, 367 of the approximately 400 inhabitants, including around fifty children, were forcibly grouped by the Russians in basements without windows and toilets, where they remained for 27 days in March 2022, until the liberation of this locality by the Ukrainian army. Eleven people died there and these basements, nicknamed the “cellars of death”, became a symbol of war crimes committed against civilians. Russia is accused of other war crimes, such as deporting Ukrainian children. Vladimir Putin is the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court in this case.

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