Russian forces in Ukraine killed a child in Kyiv on Saturday and at least five civilians on a bus in the Kharkiv region, authorities there said. This even as the Kremlin has continued to claim, without a hint of irony, that they are not targeting ordinary Ukrainians—and much of the rest of the planet looks on in horror.
For the third night in a row, families in the Ukrainian capital were forced to take shelter in basements or bomb shelters, or wait like sitting ducks in their own homes as missiles and artillery fire lit up the sky. Explosions and gunfire were reported throughout the city, with near-constant air raid sirens going off.
The night began with the government warning citizens that Russia planned to hit Kyiv with “everything they have” after days of setbacks. Experts had warned that Russia might intensify its attacks after facing stronger-than-expected resistance from Ukrainian troops.
Shortly after midnight, authorities in Vasylkiv, in the Kyiv region, said Russian forces had fired a missile at an oil depot, sparking a massive fire.
“First responders have already arrived at the scene of the tragedy. Most likely, this was not without victims,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, announced on Telegram.
“The ecological damage will be colossal,” he said.
No details were immediately available on any casualties in that case. But hours earlier, Ukrainian authorities reported brutal—and lethal—attacks on civilians by Russian forces in numerous cities.
A residential area of Kharkiv came under attack by Russian forces, a journalist was killed in Kherson, and an ambulance was fired upon as it was transporting wounded patients in Kherson, according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova.
“All those who commit the most heinous crimes against civilians will not escape responsibility,” Venediktova said in a statement shared on Facebook detailing the attacks.
She identified the journalist who was gunned down as Dilerbek Shakirov, saying Russian forces shot at him from a vehicle using automatic weapons in a village near Kherson. A 64-year-old ambulance driver and wounded soldier also burned to death after getting struck by Russian artillery fire as they tried to treat wounded patients, she said.
“The night will be rough. But tomorrow there will be the sun. We’re holding the line,” she wrote.
The death toll of Ukrainian children also appeared to climb on Saturday, with one boy reported dead as the result of Russian shelling in the capital. Sergei Chernyshuk, director of the Okhmatdyt hospital, was quoted telling Ukrainian news outlet TCN that the boy was being transported along with four others who were hurt in an attack, but that he succumbed to his injuries during transport.
Further east, near Kharkiv, five civilians were killed after their bus took a hit from Russian artillery fire, according to Pavel Kirilenko, head of the Donetsk regional civil-military administration.
“Russia is killing civilians and will be punished for its crimes!” Kirilenko wrote.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, has said authorities are working to gather evidence to present to The Hague that would show Russia is guilty of crimes against humanity. So far, Vladimir Putin’s troops have been accused of targeting residential areas, kindergartens, and hospitals, even as both the Russian Defense Ministry and the Kremlin have claimed they are only targeting Ukrainian military facilities.
At least five children have been killed by Russian shelling since Putin announced his “military operation” four days ago, according to Lyudmila Denisova, the Ukrainian parliament’s commissioner for human rights.
Thirty-three other kids have been wounded, she wrote on Telegram.
The children’s deaths will be “key evidence” when The Hague investigates Russia for war crimes, Denisova said.
She added one of the most disturbing allegations about Russian tactics yet, albeit without providing evidence. In the Sumy region, where intense fighting has been underway, Denisova said, “enemy aircraft scatter children’s toys, mobile phones, and valuables filled with explosives.”