Ukraine updates: US sanctions Russia, North Korea arms offers

May 16, 2024

Ukraine accuses Russian troops of war crimes in Kharkiv region

Ukraine has accused Russian troops of kidnapping civilians and killing a non-combatant in the city of Vovchansk in the northeastern Kharkiv region, which has again become a key front in the war.

“The first shootings of civilians by the Russian military have become known,” Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko wrote on his Telegram channel.

According to Klymenko, a resident who tried to flee and defied Russian orders was killed. Other residents of the embattled city were prevented from leaving, “kidnapped and driven into cellars,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the head of police investigations in the Kharkiv region said on television that “35 to 40” people were being held captive and that Russia was interrogating them.

“The Russians keep them in one place and actually use them as a human shield, as their command headquarters is nearby,” said Serhii Bolvinov.

Almost a week ago, Russia launched a new major offensive in northeastern Ukraine. The Russian military managed to occupy several border villages in the Kharkiv region, and Ukraine began evacuating civilians from the area.

However, due to the heavy fighting around the small town of Vovchansk, around 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the border with Russia, not everyone could be brought to safety.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv was sending yet more reinforcements to the area, and the Ukrainian army said it had managed to partially halt Russia’s advance.

Kyiv orders all-out defense against Russia in Kharkiv region

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