Russia’s retreat from Kharkiv, another key Ukrainian city, reveals new evidence of atrocities

The first — three automobiles, laden with a priest, canine, and troubled frowns — is headed hurriedly via the village of Staryi Saltiv from the north, fleeing the violence as Ukraine pushes Russian forces out of Rubizhne. “We don’t even know what’s happening,” one driver stated. “We didn’t stick around to find out.”
Ukrainian officers stated this week that they proceed to push in the direction of the Russian border, liberating tiny villages on the outskirts of Kharkiv, the nation’s second largest metropolis earlier than the invasion began. The Ukrainian advances threaten the symbolic embarrassment of expelling the Kremlin’s forces again to their very own border and whereas posing the strategic menace of reducing Russia’s provide traces into Ukraine and its forces additional south within the Donbas region. The advances have been swift over the previous weeks.

The second convoy speaks of what Ukraine has present in Russia’s wake — 5 autos riddled with bullets, two torched to cinders.

On May 4, Ukrainian officers have stated, this convoy was making an attempt to go away the city when it was shot up by Russian troops. The bullet holes consider a number of the drivers’ doorways. Children’s garments and toys litter the realm across the autos. Ukrainian officers stated that 4 civilians, together with a 13-year-old lady, have been killed when Russian troops opened fireplace on this convoy.

CNN’s escorts from the Kharkiv metropolis territorial protection power say a tank shell hit one of many automobiles, explaining how its entrance part is twisted past recognition.

Moscow says its forces do not goal civilians, a declare contradicted by proof of apparent atrocities witnessed by CNN right here and elsewhere in Ukraine.

A brief stroll up the street, out into the forest and hills close by, are the stays of a Russian convoy. In the bushes lie the stays of an armored personnel service, its tracks torn off by a rocket propelled grenade, our escorts say. Sleeping baggage, prayer books, grenades and rations litter the leaves the place the Russian troops slept, simply outdoors of the village. Two Russian corpses have been discovered there days earlier and have since been buried.

On the forehead of the hill sits one other, extra uncommon piece of wreckage — the stays of a Russian T90M tank destroyed days earlier, apparently by a Swedish-supplied Carl Gustav recoilless rifle. The Ukrainian protection ministry launched a video filmed by a drone of the tank being destroyed within the obvious strike, exhibiting the vulnerability of Russia’s latest armor to NATO’s hand-carried weapons. The tank’s turret has been dislodged and ball bearings from its shells lie within the ashes.

The Ukrainian counter-attack to disrupt Russian provide traces is ongoing. Ukraine’s General Staff stated Friday that Russian forces, “did not conduct offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction. The main efforts were focused on preventing the advance of our troops in the area of the settlement of Vesele,” one other village lower than an hour’s drive from Staryi Saltiv in regular instances. The Ukrainians have taken again plenty of villages on this space east of Kharkiv.

As Russian forces proceed to retreat, three bridges within the Kharkiv area had been demolished, in line with satellite tv for pc imagery obtained by CNN on Friday. It appears possible that Russian items destroyed the bridges in an effort to guard their provide traces from additional Ukrainian advances.

Children's clothes and toys litter the area around the vehicles.

Elsewhere in Kharkiv area, the Russians look like utilizing artillery sporadically however with lethal impact. On Thursday, shelling of the city of Derhachi killed two folks, in line with the native administration and destroyed the humanitarian middle and medical amenities.

In a village close by Staryi Saltiv, locals seem much less conscious of the main points of their occupation and liberation. One man, Viktor, is at a nicely, filling tin buckets as there has not been electrical energy or water in his road for weeks. Only three of his neighbors stay.

“What calm? My heart is about to jump out of my chest,” he stated. “Everything around is exploding. There’s a hole in the garden from a shell impact. The roof was punctured by a shell, the fence is gone. It’s really difficult. We sleep with our clothes on. They land nearby. There is nowhere to hide.”

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