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US embassy says Russians shot and killed 10 Ukrainians standing in bread line

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. (U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine/Flickr)
March 16, 2022

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said Russian forces killed 10 people in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv as they waited in line for food.

“Today, Russian forces shot and killed 10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv. Such horrific attacks must stop. We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine,” the U.S. embassy tweeted.

Video from the Chernihiv area circulated on social media on Wednesday, showing several blurred objects on the ground and an ambulance arriving. The Belarusian media channel NEXTA attributed the ten deaths to “shelling,” indicating an artillery attack.

This would not be the first time civilians have been fired on by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Last week, the Ukrainian government said Russian forces “deliberately bombed” a children’s hospital and maternity ward in the southeast Ukrainian city of Mariupol. This week, a pregnant woman injured in the attack was pronounced dead, along with her unborn child.

On Tuesday, several Ukrainian civilians reported Russian forces had taken another hospital in Mariupol hostage. The witnesses said the Russian forces rounded up civilians near the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital, along with patients and hospital staff already inside. The witnesses also described civilians being struck by gunfire as they tried to escape the hostage situation. The witnesses further described Russian forces firing from the hospital windows at nearby Ukrainian forces in an apparent attempt to provoke a response that would risk those Ukrainian forces firing at their own civilians.

Regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko has since assessed Russian forces had rounded up around 400 Ukrainian civilians at the hospital, along with around 100 patients and staff already inside.

The city of Mariupol has been nearly cut off from the rest of Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion more than two weeks ago and it has been the scene of intense fighting. Buildings throughout the city have been heavily damaged and the area is reportedly without power, heat and running water.

“A [gut]-wrenching bird’s eye view of the hell that Russian forces have unleashed on Mariupol, where more than 2,000 people have been killed,” Buzzfeed correspondent Christopher Miller tweeted on Monday, with drone footage taken from a flight over part of the city. “There’s no power, no heat, no running water. Food is running out. Video shared by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.”

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian government said it tried to send humanitarian supplies to the besieged city, but was blocked by Russian forces, Reuters reported. The day before, the Russian side said it would allow a “humanitarian corridor” for civilians to leave the city, about a week after a previous corridor offer fell through. About 160 cars were reportedly able to leave the city on Monday, with about 300 of the city’s residents.