Ukrainian officials on Saturday said that Russian soldiers had shelled a convoy of civilians in the country's northeast region, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 people, some of them children.
Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of the nation's Kharkiv region, wrote on social media that the attack was "сruelty that can't be justified," according to The Associated Press. The attack is one of a number of ambushes that Ukrainian officials have blamed on the Russian forces in recent days, and Syniehubov also reportedly wrote of another attack in which 24 people in a civilian convoy were killed trying to flee the Kupiansk district.
At least 13 children and a number of pregnant women were among the dead, Syniehubov said, adding that "the Russians fired at civilians almost at point-blank range."
Photographs of the attacked convoy reportedly showed blown-up trucks filled with burned corpses and streets littered with bodies, the AP said.
Russian government officials have not commented on the report of civilian mass casualties, despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been ramping up anti-Western rhetoric. Even as the Russian Army continues to pull its forces back amidst a strong Ukrainian counteroffensive, Putin and his government have remained defiant. A recent referendum by Russia announced that the country would be "annexing" four territories in Ukraine, though the Russians have no legal standing to do so.
This annexation was condemned by the majority of the Western world, which has all but turned its back on Russia as the invasion enters its eighth month. President Biden called Putin's annexation effort a "sham" and announced that the United States would be implementing a slate of new sanctions against Russia.
However, even as Russian propaganda asserts that the invasion of Ukraine continues to run smoothly, evidence points to anything but. On Saturday, Ukrainian forces entered the eastern city of Lyman, where a few thousand Russian troops were reportedly still stationed. By that afternoon, Ukrainian soldiers had surrounded the remaining Russians, forcing them to flee the city.