The threat from Moscow comes after Ukrainian officials said the bodies of more than 900 civilians had been found outside the capital.
KIU, Ukraine – Outraged by what she called Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory, and after the staggering loss of its flagship in the Black Sea, Moscow threatened repeated missile attacks on Kyiv, where authorities said they the bodies of more than 900 civilians were found outside the capital. Most were shot, police said, and probably “just punished”.
Russian troops continued preparations for a resumed offensive in eastern Ukraine, and fighting also continued in the devastated southern port city of Mariupol, where locals reported seeing Russian troops digging up bodies. In the city of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country as a result of shelling of a residential area killed seven people, including a 7-month-old child, 34 were injured, said the governor of the region Oleg Sinegubov.
In the cities around Kyiv, said Andrei Nebytov, who heads the region’s police, bodies are thrown into the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data showing that 95% died from gunshot wounds.
“Thus, we understand that during the (Russian) occupation, people were simply shot in the streets,” Nebytov said.
He added that more and more bodies were found under the rubble and in mass graves every day, with the largest number found in Bucha, more than 350. According to Nebytov, public utilities collected and buried bodies in the suburbs of Kiev while it remained under Russian control. Russian troops, he added, “tracked down” people who expressed strong pro-Ukrainian views.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian troops occupying parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions in the south of terrorizing civilians and hunting down anyone who served in the Ukrainian government.
“The occupiers believe that this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are deceiving themselves, ”Zielenski said in his night video. “Russia’s problem is that the whole Ukrainian people do not accept it – and never will.” Russia has lost Ukraine forever. “
Kyiv can expect more violence after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging about 100 homes as a result of air strikes in Bryansk, a region bordering Ukraine. Authorities in another Russian border region also reported shelling of Ukraine on Thursday.
“The number and scale of missile strikes on facilities in Kiev will increase due to the fact that the Kiev nationalist regime is carrying out any terrorist attacks or sabotage in Russia,” – said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Kanashenko.
Russia has used missiles to destroy a facility to repair and manufacture missile systems in Kiev, Kanashenko said. Ukrainian state-owned arms manufacturer Ukrabaronprom said Russian forces had struck one of the missile shops at the Vizar plant near Kiev’s Zhulyany airport.
Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the strike on targets in Russia, and these reports cannot be verified independently.
However, Ukrainian officials said the forces did launch a missile strike on a key Russian warship. A senior U.S. defense official backed the claim, saying the U.S. now believes Moscow was shot down by at least one Neptune anti-ship missile, and probably two. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence assessment.
“Moscow”, named after the Russian capital, sank during a tow to the port on Thursday after receiving severe damage. Moscow did not recognize any attack, saying only that as a result of the fire on board were detonated ammunition. The loss of the ship is an important victory for Ukraine and a symbolic defeat for Russia.
The sinking reduces Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea and seemed to symbolize Moscow’s success in the eight-week invasion, which is widely seen as historical error after the retreat of the Russians from the Kiev region and much of northern Ukraine.
The “flagship” Russian warship is a worthy place for diving. Now we have another place for diving in the Black Sea. We will definitely visit the wreckage after our victory in the war, ”Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov wrote on Friday.
Russia’s warning about the resumption of air strikes has not prevented the people of Kiev to take advantage of a sunny and slightly warmer spring Friday with the approach of the weekend. More people than usual were on the streets, walking dogs, riding electric scooters and walking hand in hand.
Such conditional signs of pre-war life reappeared in the capital after Russian troops failed to capture the city and retreated to concentrate in eastern Ukraine, leaving evidence behind. possible war crimes. But the resumption of bombing could mean a return to the steady howls of air raids heard in the early days invasion and to the terrible nights that lurked at subway stations.
In Mariupol, the city council said on Friday that locals had seen Russian servicemen dig up bodies buried in residential yards and prevent new burials of “people killed” by them.
“It is unknown why the exhumation is being carried out and where the bodies will be taken,” the council said in a telegram exchange program.
Fighting continued in industrial areas and the port, and Russia for the first time used a long-range Tu-22M3 bomber to attack the city, said Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Matuzyanik.
Mariupol has been blocked by Russian troops since the first days of the invasion, and fewer and fewer Ukrainian defenders have withstood the siege that began on a terrible price for trapped civilians and starvation.
This week, the mayor said the death toll in the city could exceed 20,000. Other Ukrainian officials say they expect to find evidence of such atrocities in Mariupol found in Bucha and other cities outside of Kiev.
The capture of Mariupol would allow Russian troops in the south, who came out through the annexed Crimean peninsula, to fully unite with troops in the Donbass region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial center and the impending offensive.
It is unknown when Russia will launch a full-scale campaign.
Also on Friday, a Russian rocket hit an airport in downtown Alexandria, Mayor Sergei Kuzmenko said on Facebook. He did not mention the victims.
A regional Ukrainian official said seven people were killed and 27 wounded when Russian forces fired on buses carrying civilians in the village of Borovaya near Kharkiv. An independent verification of the claim failed.
Dmitry Chubenko, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office, told the Public website that the authorities had opened a criminal case on suspicion of “violation of the laws and customs of war combined with premeditated murder.”
Fish reported from Kramatorsk. Burns was reported from Washington. Associated Press reporters around the world have contributed to this report.