Russian troops have allegedly killed ten Ukrainian civilians while they were queueing for bread outside Chernihiv–the latest in a string of incidents which, if confirmed, would constitute war crimes, Daily Mail reports.
It comes after drone footage emerged which purported to show Russian soldiers executing a lone Ukrainian civilian as he held his hands up to surrender on a highway west of Kyiv last week.
The footage which was published by the Ukrainian website Public and swiftly condemned by the US Embassy in Kyiv, shows the lifeless bodies of ten people sprawled on the street after they were apparently executed in cold blood. ‘Such horrific attacks must stop,’ the US Embassy in a statement on Twitter. ‘We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine.’
Moscow repeatedly insisted that their forces are only targeting strategic military locations and are not waging war on the civilian population of Ukraine but it comes after two residential apartment blocks in west Kyiv were hit in shelling overnight.
And as Moscow’s men started pounding the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia hours after around 20,000 refugees arrived through a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol.
Reports also emerged overnight that Russian forces in Mariupol had rounded up 400 people from houses neighboring the city’s hospital number two, along with 100 doctors and patients who were already inside, and were refusing to let them leave in a bid to use civilians as human shields.
Battles also continued to rage in cities like Mariupol, Kharkhiv, and Mykolaiv, as well as in suburban towns just outside Kyiv on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after Putin ordered an all-out invasion of its western neighbor. The killing of innocent civilians in Chernihiv comes shortly after a man was executed on a road outside of Kyiv by Russian troops while attempting to surrender.
The slaughter of civilians, particularly those who do not pose a threat, is considered a war crime under international humanitarian law. The video, obtained by German broadcaster ZDF and filmed on March 7, shows a silver car driving along the E40 European expressway west of Kyiv.
The car was heading towards Kyiv, but upon seeing a Russian tank and a group of soldiers parked by the side of the road, the driver made a rapid U-turn before braking and coming to a stop. The man exited the car and immediately raised his hands above his head, turning to face the Russian soldiers in a clear show of surrender.
But within seconds he was gunned down in cold blood. Moments later, a gang of soldiers is seen grabbing the civilian’s lifeless body and dragging him away into the trees nearby.
The drone operator, a member of the Ukrainian territorial defense force in Kyiv, said a woman and child were also traveling in the car and were subsequently taken captive by the Russian forces. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday evening verified a total of 691 civilians had been killed since the invasion began on February 24, but the true number is thought to be considerably higher.
Russian forces have intensified fighting in the Kyiv suburbs, notably around the town of Bucha in the northwest and the highway leading west toward Zhytomyr, regional leader Oleksiy Kuleba said this morning. Twelve towns around Kyiv were reported to be without water and six without heat.
Across the capital region, ‘kindergartens, museums, churches, residential blocks, and engineering infrastructure are suffering from the endless firing,’ Mr. Kuleba said. He said Russian troops are trying to cut off transport links to the capital and to destroy logistical capabilities while planning a wide-ranging attack to seize the capital.