Ukraine said on Sunday that it has discovered more than 1,200 dead in the Kyiv region, the site of alleged crimes perpetrated during Russia’s annexation last month, as citizens in the country’s east braced – or fled – for a huge attack.
Heavy bombardments pounded Ukraine over the weekend, adding to the growing toll six weeks into Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, reports AFP.
Two people were killed in shelling in northeast Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, on Sunday morning, according to regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov, a day after ten civilians, including a toddler, were killed in a bombing southeast of the city, according to police.
“Due to a lack of victories at the front, the Russian army continues to conduct war on civilians,” Sinegoubov wrote on Telegram.
A downpour of Russian missiles nearly destroyed the local airport in Dnipro, a huge industrial city of a million people, according to local authorities, causing an unknown number of casualties. On March 15, it had already been struck.
President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned atrocities against civilians once more, and stated that he and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had agreed that “all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished.”
Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, stated that the government is investigating the suspected involvement of 500 top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, in thousands of war crimes.
In addition, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the US would “engage with the international community to ensure responsibility” for what he called “mass atrocities.”
Pope Francis called for an Easter ceasefire to pave the way for peace, condemning a war in which “defenseless civilians” were subjected to “heinous atrocities and horrific cruelty.”
The death toll has also risen in Ukraine’s east, where a missile assault on a railway station in Kramatorsk on Friday killed 57 people, according to a revised number released by Donetsk area governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Residents in the east have fled in their hundreds as Ukraine prepares for “major fights” with Moscow’s military, according to Zelensky.