Russia Resumes Attacks on kyiv, Missile Hits Kharkiv Outer Market

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on Kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond on Saturday in a searing reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the entire country remains under threat despite Russia’s pivot to mounting a new offensive in the east.

Stung by the loss of its Black Sea flagship and outraged by alleged Ukrainian aggression on Russian territory, the Russian military command had warned a day earlier of further missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital. Officials in Moscow said they were targeting military sites.

Smoke rises above the Darnytskyi district in kyiv, Ukraine on April 16, 2022.

Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

But the toll of the war goes much deeper. Every day brings new discoveries of civilian casualties from a war that has shattered European security and plunged East-West relations into new lows. In the Kyiv region alone, Ukrainian authorities reported finding the bodies of more than 900 civilians, most of them shot, since the withdrawal of Russian troops two weeks ago.

Russian preparations for the planned offensive in the east are claiming more casualties. A mother cried over the body of her 15-year-old son in the partially blocked city of Kharkiv, where shelling increased this week. Nine civilians died and more than 50 people were injured on Friday, the president’s office reported.

An explosion believed to be caused by a missile struck near an open-air market in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, on Saturday, according to firefighters and AP journalists at the scene. One person was killed and at least 18 people were injured, according to rescuers.

Ukrainian servicemen walk among the debris of damaged buildings after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Ukrainian servicemen walk among the debris of damaged buildings after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.

In the capital, smoke billowed early Saturday from eastern Kyiv when Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported a strike in the city’s Darnytsky district. One person was killed and several others were injured, he said. The mayor advised residents who had fled the city at the start of the war not to return for their safety.

“Our air defense forces are doing everything they can to protect us, but the enemy is insidious and ruthless,” Klitschko said.

It was not immediately clear from the ground what had been hit in the attack. Darnytskyi is a sprawling district on the southeastern outskirts of the capital, containing a mix of Soviet-style apartment buildings, new shopping malls and big-box retail stores, industrial areas and rail yards.

Earlier this week, the Russian military said it would carry out strikes on kyiv, and Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that an armored vehicle factory in the Ukrainian capital was aimed. He did not specify where the plant is, but there is one in the Darnytskyi district.

He said it was one of several Ukrainian military sites hit by “high-precision air-launched long-range weapons”. As the United States and Europe send new weapons to Ukraine, the strategy could be aimed at hampering Ukrainian defenses ahead of what is expected to be a full-scale Russian assault in the east.

Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.

This was the second strike in the Kyiv region in two days. Another hit a missile factory on Friday as tentative signs of pre-war life began to resurface in the capital after Russian troops failed to capture the city and retreated to concentrate about launching a full-scale assault in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv was not the only target away from the Eastern Front on Saturday. The governor of Lviv region in western Ukraine – an area long considered a safe zone – reported airstrikes on the region by Russian Su-35 jets which took off from neighboring Belarus. Governor Maksym Kozytskyy did not provide details of any casualties or damage.

Fighting continued in the southern port city of Mariupol, where Russian forces had maintained a blockade since the early days of the invasion, and where the dwindling number of Ukrainian defenders withstood the siege.

Capturing Mariupol would allow Russian forces from the south, crossing the annexed Crimean Peninsula, to fully link up with troops in the Donbass region, the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine.

The battle for control of the city has cost the trapped and starving civilians dearly. Residents reported seeing Russian troops digging up bodies in residential yards and banning further burials.

“Why the exhumation is underway and where the bodies will be taken is unknown,” the city council said on the Telegram messaging app on Friday.

A local resident rides a bicycle along a street near the Illich steel plant during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 15, 2022.
A local resident rides a bicycle along a street near the Illich steel plant during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 15, 2022.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermoshenko

The mayor said this week that the death toll in the city could top 20,000. Other Ukrainian officials said they expected to find evidence in Mariupol of atrocities like those uncovered in Bucha and other cities. other cities apart from kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian troops occupying parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south of terrorizing civilians and driving out anyone who has served in the Ukrainian military or government.

“The occupiers believe this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are wrong,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted – and will never be accepted – by all Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.

He also warned in an interview with CNN that “every country in the world” should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons in war, an underlying fear ever since Putin warned him. launched on February 24.

Zelenskyy estimated that 2,500–3,000 Ukrainian soldiers died during the war and about 10,000 were injured.

The Russians were holding some 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians captive, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a televised address on Saturday. Vereshchuk said Ukraine held about the same number of Russian soldiers as prisoners and – intended to arrange an exchange with Moscow but demanded the release of the civilians “without any conditions”.

Russia’s warning about escalating attacks on the capital came after Russian authorities on Thursday accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging around 100 residential buildings in airstrikes in Bryansk, a region Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian officials have not confirmed any striking targets in Russia, and the reports could not be independently verified.

However, Ukrainian officials hit a key Russian warship with missiles earlier this week, in a significant victory for Ukraine and a symbolic defeat for Russia.

The Moskva, named after the Russian capital, sank while being towed to port on Thursday after sustaining heavy damage. Moscow did not acknowledge any attack, saying only that a fire had detonated ammunition on board.

The sinking reduced Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea and appeared to symbolize Moscow’s fortunes in an eight-week invasion widely seen as a historic mistake after Russia withdrew from the kyiv region and much of the north from Ukraine.

After the removal, the bodies were left on the streets of towns around Kyiv or given temporary burials. Andriy Nebytov, who heads the region’s police force, cited police data indicating that 95% died from gunshot wounds.

“Therefore, we understand that under the (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said.

More and more bodies are being found every day under the rubble and in mass graves, he added, with the largest number being found in Bucha, more than 350. According to Nebytov, utility workers gathered and buried bodies on the outskirts of kyiv while it remained under Russian control. Russian troops, he added, had “hunted down” people who expressed strong pro-Ukrainian views.

It is unclear when Russia will launch a full-scale campaign.

The diplomatic chasm between Russia and the West widened further on Saturday, as Moscow banned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a dozen other senior British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions.

Chernov reported from Kharkiv. Yesica Fisch in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Robert Burns in Washington, and Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.


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