Friday, October 7, 2022

Russian troops ‘open fire on protesters’

Russian soldiers have opened fire on civilian protesters in the captured Ukrainian city of Kherson and wounded at least one person, local media has reported, as Vladimir Putin’s troops stepped up their war of attrition against civilians by shelling the city of Odessa.
Footage taken in Kherson and shared by media with links to the Ukrainian military, showed one man bleeding heavily from the leg after being shot during a demonstration. Russian forces used firearms as well as stun grenades to try and disperse the protesters, the Interfax news agency reported. It came as Vladimir Putin’s warships opened fire on civilian areas in the Black Sea port city of Odesa today, marking the first time residents have been targeted. Officials said several houses were destroyed and a fire sparked, but there was no immediate word on casualties.
Missiles also rained down on the ‘Retroville’ shopping centre in northern Kyiv on Monday – killing eight people amid fears dozens more were buried in the rubble with emergency workers searching for them. CCTV footage from the city of Kharkiv also emerged showing a strike on a supermarket queue last week.
And in the heavily besieged city of Mariupol, more than 300 miles to the east of Odesa, officials rejected a Russian demand that fighters protecting the city surrender in return for letting an estimated 300,000 trapped civilians evacuate. Pyotr Andryushenko – an adviser to the city’s mayor – said Russian promises could not be trusted and that troops defending the city were determined to fight ‘down to the last man’.
Kherson has been the scene of near-daily protests since it became the first major city to fall to Russian forces early during the war. On Sunday, demonstrators managed to turn back a military convoy after blocking a road. Putin’s men have been accused of firing ‘warning shots’ before, but until now had not opened fire directly on activists.
Ukraine says thousands of civilians have been killed by Russian forces since Vladimir Putin gave the order to attack on February 24, with his men stepping up indiscriminate shelling of cities after an initial offensive stalled.
Officials in Mariupol say up to 20,000 people may have died in that city alone, but there is no accurate country-wide figure.
The UN says it has confirmed 902 civilians killed and 1,459 injured, but caveats the figure by saying it is almost certainly lower than the actual total.
Those in Odesa fear that the punishment inflicted on Mariupol may now be headed their way, as capturing the Black Sea city – Ukraine’s main port – is known to be a key Russian objective. General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of UK Joint Forces Command, told the BBC that Odesa will be the next target if or when Mariupol falls.