After Frontline Failure, Russia Widens Strikes on Ukrainian Civilian Targets

Izium: Russia has extended its strikes on Ukrainian civilian foundation in the past week following setbacks on the battlefield and is probably going to expand its target range further, Britain said on Sunday.

Ukrainians who returned to the northeastern region retaken in Kyiv’s lightning advance before this month was looking for their dead while Russian artillery and air strikes continued to pound focuses across Ukraine’s east.

Five civilians were killed in Russian attacks in the eastern Donetsk region over the past day and in Nikopol, further west, a few dozen private structures, gas pipelines, and electrical cables were hit, regional governors said on Sunday.

Britain’s defense ministry said Russian strikes at civilian infrastructure, including a power grid and a dam, have increased throughout recent days.

“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” it said in an intelligence update.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address that authorities had found a mass grave containing the bodies of 17 soldiers in Izium, some of which he said bore indications of torment.

Occupants of Izium have been searching for dead relatives at a forest grave site where emergency workers began unearthing bodies last week. The reasons for death for those at the grave site have not yet been established, although residents say some died in an air strike.

Ukrainian authorities said last week they had found 440 bodies in the forests near Izium. They said most of the dead were civilians and the causes of death had not been established.

The Kremlin has not remarked on the discovery of the graves, but in the past Moscow has repeatedly denied deliberately attacking civilians or committing atrocities.

Making his way between graves and trees at the forest site where exhumations were in progress, Volodymyr Kolesnyk was trying to coordinate numbers written on wooden crosses with names on a neatly handwritten list to locate relatives who he said died in an air strike in the early days of the war. Kolesnyk said he got the list from a local funeral company that dug the graves.

“The exhumation is underway, the graves are being dug up and all the remains are being transported to Kharkiv,” Valery Marchenko told state TV.

In the village of Kozacha Lopan, some 45 km (30 miles) north of Kharkiv and just some 5 km (3 miles) from the Russian border, a Reuters reporter was taken to a squalid cellar with rooms fitted with iron bars, which local officials said had served as a makeshift prison during the occupation. Local district mayor Vyacheslav Zadorenko said the rooms had been used as a “torture cellar” to detain civilians. Reuters was unable to verify those accounts.

By Archana

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