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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war: Missile strikes, mass graves and sieges mark second month of Putin’s invasion

Over two months after Russia invaded Ukraine under the guise of demilitarizing its neighbour, we look back at some of the key incidents in the war.

By: Express Web Desk |
Updated: April 29, 2022 11:09:01 am
In Kyiv, workers were cleaning up rubble in the residential area hit by the missiles. (/Representational/AP/PTI)

Over two months after Russia invaded Ukraine under the guise of demilitarizing its neighbour, cities across Ukraine have been subjected to bombings, mass evacuations and gunfights as Russian troops attempted to wrest control of administrational offices and buildings. Thousands have been killed and injured, and over 11 million people have fled their homes, according to the United Nations

As per reports, Russia is readying a massive, new offensive in eastern Ukraine, hoping to reverse its fortunes on the battlefield after a catastrophic start to the war. For instance, a failed Russian attempt to storm Kyiv and other big cities took a heavy toll on its personnel and equipment, boosted morale in Ukraine and allowed it to rally broad international support.

Russia’s focus is turning to Ukraine’s industrial heartland, known as the Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since the conflict there erupted shortly after the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, reported news The Associated Press.

We look back at some of the key incidents from the past month.

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Bucha massacre

Early in April, bodies of at least 400 civilians were found in a mass grave Kyiv suburb called Bucha, a town located about 25 km to the northwest of the capital. The town, which had an estimated population of around 36,000 before the invasion began, was occupied by the Russian troops. The grim discoveries were made after they left.

A cemetery worker takes a rest from working on the graves of civilians killed in Bucha during the war with Russia, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 14, 2022. (AP/PTI Photo)

Satellite images from mid-March show streets strewn with corpses. Many of the bodies seen by journalists in the past couple of days appear to have lain in the open for weeks, as per agencies. Corpses have been found in a shallow mass grave in a church compound, and officials have said five bodies with their hands tied lay in the basement of a children’s sanatorium that was used by the occupiers as a “torture chamber” for civilians. World leaders have condemned the incident.

The sinking of the Russian warship

On April 14, Russian and Ukrainian authorities said that warship Moskova, a 600-foot, 12,500-tonne flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, was seriously damaged by a blast and has sunk. The loss of the Moskva, one of three missile cruisers of its kind in Russia’s fleet, was shrouded in mystery from the moment it was first reported.

The incident on the Moskva missile cruiser occurred after ammunition on board blew up, Interfax news agency quoted the Russian defence ministry as saying. (Reuters)

Moscow claimed the damage was caused by a fire onboard, but Ukraine attributed it to one of their missile strikes. A week later, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a terse announcement that one crew member died and 27 were left missing from the warship, while 396 others were evacuated.

The battle for Mariupol’s steel mill

The massive Azovstal steel mill in the southern port city of Mariupol has emerged as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. Mariupol, which has been under siege since the early days of the war, has seen fierce fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian elite troops. The Azovstal plant is a sprawling compound with a 24-kilometre labyrinth of underground tunnels and passages. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said about 1,000 civilians were also trapped inside.

Smoke rises above a plant of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 25, 2022. (Reuters)

Describing the situation, a Ukrainian fighter told The New York Times in an audio message: “To put it bluntly, they are trying to wipe us off the face of the earth, despite the fact that they are perfectly aware that there are several hundred civilians here, including children.”

Russian leader Vladimir Putin initially announced that his troops would storm the plant and warned Ukrainian personnel and civilians to lay down arms for amnesty. However, he later withdrew the plan, and the siege continues.

Kramatorsk railway station attack

As many as 52 people were killed and hundreds injured in a missile strike on Kramatorsk train station in eastern Ukraine on April 8. Authorities said two Russian rockets had struck the station which is used for the evacuation of civilians from areas under bombardment by Russian forces.

Ukrainian servicemen stand next to a fragment of a Tochka-U missile on which is written “For children” in Russian. (AP)

Satellite images of the station showed corpses covered with tarpaulins, and the remnants of a rocket painted with the words “For the children” in Russian, The Associated Press reported. Moscow has denied targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on February 24.

Explosions in Kyiv as UN chief visits

Russia pounded a wide area of Ukraine on April 28, including Kyiv, bombarding the city during a visit by the head of the United Nations in the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago. The rockets shook the central Shevchenko district of the city and one struck the lower floors of a 25-storey residential building, wounding at least 10 people, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres leave a news conference during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The attack happened barely an hour after Zelenskyy held a news conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said Ukraine has become “an epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain.” A spokesperson said Guterres and his team were safe.

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