Russia says Ukraine shelled its own civilians

May 1, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Ukraine’s shelling killed and injured its own civilians in the southern region of Kherson, Russia said on Sunday, after pounding southern and eastern areas with missile strikes, while some civilians got away from a steel plant in besieged Mariupol.

Russia’s forces have captured the town of Kherson, just 100 km north of Russian-annexed Crimea, and have mostly occupied Mariupol, the strategic eastern port city on the Azov Sea.

Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a school, kindergarten and cemetery in the villages of Kyselivka and Shyroka Balka in the Kherson region, the Russian RIA news agency said on Sunday. The ministry gave no further details.

A Russian missile launched from Crimea destroyed the runway at the main airport in the city of Odesa to the west, said regional governor Maksym Marchenko, but no one was hurt.

The airport could no longer be used, Ukraine’s military said. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed to rebuild it, saying in a late-night video speech, “Odesa will never forget Russia’s behaviour towards it.”

Moscow’s assault in the south aims in part to link the area with Crimea as it pushes for complete control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russian-backed separatists already controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces before Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion. In his speech, Zelenskiy said Russia was “gathering additional forces for new attacks against our military in the east of the country” and “trying to increase pressure in the Donbas”.

The United States and its European allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia’s economy and supplied Ukraine with weapons and humanitarian aid. Britain will continue “to give the Ukrainians the equipment they need to defend themselves”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday.

Russia reported more Ukrainian strikes on its territory. Officials in the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine and Belarus, said air defences had kept out a Ukrainian aircraft, but the resulting shelling hit parts of a Russian oil terminal.

South of Bryansk, in Kursk, another border region, several shells were fired from Ukraine toward a Russian checkpoint, said the regional governor, Roman Starovoit, but with no casualties or damage.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for such incidents but it described a series of blasts in Russia’s south on Wednesday as payback and “karma” for Moscow’s invasion.

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