Ukraine: Russian troops massacre civilians waiting at a bus stop as Putin blames the West for the war
Russian troops were accused of massacring Ukrainian civilians waiting at a bus stop today during a major speech by Vladimir Putin to Moscow’s elite, in which he claimed the West was to blame for his ongoing invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said several missiles fired by the Russian military hit civilian targets in attacks on the southern city of Kherson.
He accused Russia of “ruthlessly killing the civilian population” of Ukraine as his Russian counterpart delivered his annual state of the nation address to lawmakers in a rambling two-hour speech.
Among his statements, Putin said: “The responsibility for fueling the Ukrainian conflict, for its escalation, for the number of victims… falls entirely on Western elites.” The United States called the speech “absurd”, while kyiv said Putin was in a “different reality”.
Zelensky issued his own rebuttal in a post on Instagram, posting images of the aftermath of Russia’s attacks on Kherson. “The world cannot forget for a moment that Russian cruelty and aggression have no limits,” he wrote. “The terrorist state will be responsible for all its inhumane crimes against our people and Ukraine.”
WARNING: Graphic Images
Pictured: An image from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Instagram account on Tuesday showing the aftermath of a Russian missile attack on a bus stop in Kherson Russia ‘ruthlessly killing the civilian population’ of Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said several missiles fired by the Russian military hit civilian targets in attacks on the southern city of Kherson, accusing
Pictured: An injured person (center) is seen on the ground near where a Russian missile struck Kherson on Tuesday. The body of a strike victim is seen on the left
Attacks in Kherson today killed at least five people and 16 others were in hospitals with injuries, the city council said.
In the images Zelensky posted on Instagram, at least one body can be seen lying on the pavement in a pool of blood. Another person lies on the ground injured, his clothing clearly damaged by the explosion. A second body is seen half covered with an aluminum blanket.
The building next to the bus stop has also been vandalized, with rubble strewn across the street. Damage from the hit spreads across the lane.
The Russian army is heavily shelling Kherson. Again mercilessly killing the civilian population,’ Zelensky wrote. “A car park, residential areas, a high-rise building and a public transport stop were hit.”
AFP reporters also saw bodies covered with plastic sheeting or aluminum blankets on the streets near a bus stop and a supermarket in Kherson.
On Sunday, the city’s regional authorities said the shelling had killed three adult members of the same family. Four others, including two children, were injured when a shell flew into the courtyard of a house in the village of Burgunka, authorities said.
Separately, an 8-year-old boy was injured by shelling in the same town, regional authorities said.
Kherson is the capital of one of four regions – along with Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia – that Russia claims to have annexed but never fully controlled.
Despite Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson in November when Ukraine’s lightning counterattack liberated hundreds of square kilometers in a matter of weeks, Moscow troops regularly attack the city from across the Dnieper river.
Pictured: Medics load a stretcher with a dead civilian into an ambulance on February 21. The person was killed in a Russian missile attack in Kherson.
Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers are seen today at the scene of the Russian missile attack in Kherson
Pictured: A bus stop in Kherson is cordoned off after the area was hit by a Russian missile.
Pictured: People in Kherson assess the damage after a Russian missile struck on Tuesday
Pictured: A person cleans broken glass from a damaged window after a shelling, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kherson, Ukraine, on February 21.
Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said Russian troops had attacked the city “probably with multiple Grad rocket launchers” and that 20 explosions had been heard.
The attacks came as Russian President Vladimir Putin was giving a state of the nation address in Moscow nearly a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In his long-delayed state of the nation address, Putin branded his country, and Ukraine, victims of Western double-dealing and said it was Russia, not Ukraine, that was fighting for its very existence.
“We are not fighting against the Ukrainian people,” Putin said in a speech days before the first anniversary of the war on Friday. Ukraine “has become a hostage to the kyiv regime and its Western masters, who have effectively occupied the country.”
The speech reiterated a litany of grievances that the Russian leader has frequently offered as justification for the widely condemned war, while vowing no military truce in Ukrainian territories he has illegally annexed, apparently rejecting any peace proposals in a conflict. which has reawakened fears of a new Cold War.
Russia invaded on February 24, 2022 and rushed towards kyiv, apparently hoping to quickly overrun the capital. But strong resistance from Ukrainian forces, backed by Western weapons, pushed Moscow’s troops back.
While Ukraine has claimed many areas initially occupied by Russia, the two sides have been bogged down in tit-for-tat battles in others.
Much of the speech covered an old theme, though Putin sharply increased tensions with Washington by declaring that Moscow would suspend its participation in the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States.
The so-called New START Treaty limits the number of long-range nuclear warheads they can deploy and limits the use of missiles that can carry atomic weapons.
Among his remarks during Tuesday’s speech, Putin said: “The responsibility for fueling the Ukrainian conflict, for its escalation, for the number of casualties… falls entirely on Western elites.” The United States called the speech “absurd” while kyiv said Putin was in a “different reality”.
In the speech, Putin offered his own version of recent history, which dismissed the Ukrainian government’s arguments that it needed Western help to thwart a Russian military takeover.
Putin has denied any wrongdoing, including as Kremlin forces in Ukraine attack civilian targets, including hospitals, and are widely accused of war crimes.
On the ground in Ukraine on Tuesday, grueling battles and shelling attacks continued in the east and south of the country.
At least six people have been killed and another seven injured in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian presidential office reported this morning.