44 civilians found dead under building destroyed by Russian forces in Kharkiv: officials

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Ukrainian forces have found the bodies of 44 civilians trapped under a building in Kharkiv that the Russian military destroyed in March, a Ukrainian official said.

Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov announced the find on social media on Tuesday, calling the find further evidence that Russia intentionally targeted civilians.

“This is another horrible war crime by the Russian occupiers against the civilian population!” says Synehubov.

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The exact location of the destroyed five-story building was not provided, only that it was in the Izyum area, he said.

TOPSHOT - This photograph shows a view of a destroyed school following a fight not far from the center of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, located about 50 km from the Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28, 2022. - (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)
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TOPSHOT – This photograph shows a view of a destroyed school following a fight not far from the center of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, located about 50 km from the Ukrainian-Russian border, on February 28, 2022. – (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

The discovery was announced in the days following Ukraine’s “successful” counter-offensive mission in Kharkiv, which is trying to push back Russian forces on its country’s border.

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The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington DC-based group, said on Saturday that Russian forces were being pushed back into Kharkiv and intentionally destroying bridges as they exited the area.

The destroyed bridges indicate a “successful Ukrainian attack” as they indicate Russia’s intention not to return to the region, according to the ISW report.

Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.

Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
((AP Photo/Felipe Dana))

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“Armies generally only destroy bridges if they have largely decided not to attempt to cross the river in the other direction anytime soon; therefore it is unlikely that Russian forces will launch operations to retake the northern outskirts. east of Kharkiv liberated by Ukrainian forces in the near future,” the report said.

Ukrainian soldiers and firefighters search a destroyed building after a bomb attack in kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Ukrainian soldiers and firefighters search a destroyed building after a bomb attack in kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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Russia’s weakened military state and depleted supplies could also point to an inability to defend the region, the think tank predicted.

“Given the current pace of Ukrainian advances, Russian forces may not be able to prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border, even with additional reinforcements,” the ISW report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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