Speed Reads

war crimes

Western reporters witness, document Ukrainian family killed by Russian shelling outside Kyiv

"Russian forces probably made minimal ground advances over the weekend," Britain's Ministry of Defense said Sunday evening, in its latest intelligence update. But "over the past 24 hours, a high level of Russian air and artillery strikes have continued to hit military and civilian sites in Ukrainian cities," including Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, especially Mariupol. 

Russia also shelled Ukrainian civilians fleeing the contested Ukrainian suburb of Irpin on Sunday, killing at least eight civilians, according to mayor Oleksandr Markushyn. Four of those deaths — a mother, her teenage son, a daughter about 8, and a family friend — were witnessed by reporters for The New York Times, a freelance videographer, and by Markushyn, he said in a video posted online. "The shell hit, and in front of my own eyes died two small children and two adults," Markushyn said.

The Times has a photo of the dead family, taken by photographer Lynsey Addario, where you can see their lifeless faces, and an annotated version of the video. The BBC showed graphic video of the slain family, but with their faces covered, in a report on the Irpin evacuation by reporter Jeremy Bowen.

"In Irpin, residents have been streaming out for days, as Russian shelling has increasingly hit civilian neighborhoods," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Sunday was the first time Russia directly attacked an evacuation route — as hundreds of civilians were trying to escape" across a partially destroyed bridge.

The mom, her children, and their friend were waiting with the other civilian evacuees, "calculating their odds of making it safely over the Irpin River," the Times reports. "The Russian mortar hit just as they made it across into Kyiv. A cloud of concrete dust lofted into the morning air. When it settled, Ukrainians could be seen running madly from the scene. But not the family. ... The group's luggage was scattered about them. A small green pet carrier lay nearby, too. A dog could be heard barking."

Despite growing evidence, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly insisted Russia's military is not targeting civilians, and "he did so again on Sunday, a day after a railroad track used to evacuate Ukrainians came under fire," the Times notes. Reuters on Sunday also posted video of its journalists coming under Russian shelling in Irpin. 

"We will not forgive the shooting of unarmed people," and "God will not forgive," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday night. "Not today. Not tomorrow. Never."