Russian military killing civilians in Vovchansk, Ukrainian authorities say

Amid a renewed Russian offensive on eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that began last week, Russian troops have been capturing and indiscriminately shooting civilians in the city of Vovchansk, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Thursday.

Klymenko said that the evacuation of civilians from Vovchansk had been ended following Russian forces taking overall control of the city, since when civilians had been prevented from leaving and were instead being forced into basements where they were being held captive.

Russian troops in the city have also been shooting civilians, according to Klymenko, who said that at least one Vovchansk resident was killed after he refused to follow instructions and attempted to flee.

The coordinator of the evacuation team in Vovchansk, Oleksiy Paziy, said that Russian soldiers were also shooting volunteer aid workers. “We already know that one crew was shot, and a second crew has gone missing.”

“There are people who couldn’t get out of the north [of Vovchansk] in time as there are a lot of people there, and there’s constant shelling, and now they are trapped. The Russian occupiers are holding them captive,” he told independent investigative news outlet IStories.

On Thursday it also emerged that the head of the Vovchansk city military administration, Tamaz Gambarashvili, was injured in a Russian strike on a village near Vovchansk. At least four other people were also reportedly injured in the attack

Russia launched a fresh offensive on a new front in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine on 10 May, since when Russian troops have managed to advance several kilometres inland.

On Tuesday night the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that Ukrainian troops would withdraw from the area to “save the lives of our soldiers and avoid losses”, adding that its troops had moved to more “advantageous” positions from which they would attempt to prevent Russian forces from gaining a foothold.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.