Russia is keeping up with the counteroffensive launched by the Ukrainian troops at the end of May in two ways: first, it is resisting the pressure exerted by the military sent by Kiev to advance in the southeast, especially towards the Berdyansk squares, on the battlefront; Melitopol and Bakhmut, while claiming advances on the route to Kupiansk, in the Kharkov province, in the northeast. Secondly, Moscow continues to order bombardments on civilian populations with a high price in the number of fatalities. In two of the latest attacks, in Pokrovsk and Kruhliakivka, the Moscow army launched a second missile just as rescue efforts were taking place to help those wounded by a first missile, a tactic that is not new on battlefronts with presence of Russian troops, and that maximizes the number of deaths.
At least seven people died in the double Russian attack carried out on Monday against the town of Pokrovsk, as reported by Pavlo Kirilenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration. Kirilenko, who visited the city overnight, said the fatalities included five civilians, an emergency services employee and a military man. At least 88 people were injured, many of them police officers and rescue workers.
“Two missiles have fallen. An ordinary residential property has been hit,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on social media late Monday, shortly after the bombing of Pokrovsk. The second shell fell about 40 minutes after the first, which explains the death toll among security forces and emergency teams. This tactic of war, which contravenes international law insofar as it targets civilians and rescue efforts, has been used more often by Russian forces during their full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but above all, it has been used for their aviation during the campaign in support of the Syrian regime against rebel armed groups in that country.
Both in the video posted by the head of the Ukrainian Executive and in other recordings released later from Pokrovsk, you can see the moments after the two Russian projectiles hit the top of the five-unit building. In the images, neighbors and members of the emergency teams tried to pull some of the residents out of the rubble and practiced first aid on the injured.
As detailed by Kirilenko, the bombing hit “residential buildings in the private sector, a hotel, catering establishments, shops and administrative buildings.” The possibility of further attacks meant that emergency work had to stop overnight, but it has since resumed. “The one who directed this projectile to the center of the city understood that there were only civilians,” said one of the injured policemen, according to the Suspilne chain. The agent is identified as Volodímir and was one of the leading heroes of the documentary 20 days in Mariupol. After hearing the first explosion, the policeman went to the scene to assist the injured and help with the rescue. Volodimir has told this channel that he thought a second projectile could arrive, but it remained in place. When he heard it, he tried to throw himself to the ground, but a fragment hit his back and damaged his lungs.
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Pokrovsk, in territory controlled by Ukrainian forces, with some 60,000 inhabitants before the start of the war, is located about 70 kilometers northwest of the city of Donetsk, capital of the homonymous province.
There were also two missiles that killed three people on Monday in the town of Kruhliakivka, in the Kharkov province. Around seven in the afternoon this Monday, guided projectiles hit the city. The first bomb killed two people and injured nine others. When the Ukrainian emergency services were working on rescue and medical care, a second shell arrived. The final balance amounts to three fatalities.
Further west, in the town of Novodanilivka, near Krivói Rog, the birthplace of President Zelensky, the body of a man, who died in the bombings this week, has been found in the rubble in recent hours. Russia has also hit the cities of Mikolaiv and Kupiansk on Tuesday, in which three teenagers were injured. In the latter, in the crosshairs of the Russian army, two people lost their lives in the bombing on Sunday against a blood donation center, an attack that Zelensky described as a “war crime”.
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