Kyiv – VIEWPOINT – On February 24th, Russian president Vladimir Purin started a war against Ukraine. He said that the Russian army would target exclusively Ukrainian military infrastructure.
Then why are Ukrainian cities and towns on fire?
“It is only military infrastructure that is being disabled by high-precision weapons of the Russian armed forces — these are the objects of anti-aircraft warfare, military air bases, the Ukrainian Air Force … Specifically I would like to emphasize that the Russian Armed Forces do not attack Ukrainian cities — there is no threat to the civilian population”. These are the words of the official representative of The Ministry of Defense of Russia on 24 February 2022 right after Russian troops invaded Ukraine and unleashed a full-scale war. These false claims turned into a military attack that is destroying civilian infrastructure, urban areas and historical buildings.
The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights informs that Russian troops target residential areas, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, maternity hospitals, TV towers inflicting serious damage to the lives and well-being of many people as well as to the infrastructure of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Zhytomyr, Kherson and other cities. On 28 February 2022 there was a massive shelling of the residential area of Kharkiv with grad missiles. Local government informs that 87 residential buildings were damaged as a result of the attacks. The next morning — 1 March 2022 — the central square in Kharkiv together with the government office came under air raid. And these shellings are still happening in the cities of Ukraine. The Ombudsman also writes that as well as destroying residential infrastructure, the buildings of cultural and historical heritage are being attacked (e.g. the historical building of a theater in Chernihiv, the historical museum in a village near Kyiv with art works and others).
Some Ukrainian towns and villages are suffering from a devastating humanitarian situation. Shelling of residential areas leaves people without roofs above their heads – they are being left with no access to water, food and medicine. The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights writes that more than 300 cities, towns and villages are left without electricity because of the damaged electrical grids. Trying to seize control over Kyiv, Russian troops are relentlessly attacking small towns and villages around the capital of Ukraine — Brovary, Hostomel, Irpin and others. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine warned about the critical situation in the town of Bucha (Kyiv Oblast). As a result of bombings, around two hundred people were blocked in their cellars (used as bomb shelters) from getting out under the ruins of the houses. Fortunately, they were saved by the rescuers. The humanitarian help was sent to the town from Kyiv – the mayor of the capital informs.
On 1 March 2022 during the briefing of the Office of the President of Ukraine they stated that people are facing a humanitarian crisis in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Especially difficult situation is in Volnovakha — according to the information from the local government, people are compelled to live in shelters under constant bombings with no water, food and power supply. Local governments also say that the Russian army blocks opening green corridors for the civilians and shell those who are trying to leave the town on their own.
As the Russian army keeps inflicting damage on Ukrainian cities and their citizens, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the establishment of the Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian and Social Affairs on 2 March 2022. This initiative is working in three main directions to help those who are suffering from difficult living conditions because of the war: humanitarian aid from foreign governments and international organizations; assistance from large Ukrainian and foreign businesses; assistance from the authorities.
Despite all the disastrous losses, the President also said in one of his latest briefings: “Even if you destroy our cathedrals and churches, you will never destroy our faith — our genuine faith in Ukraine, in God, in people. We will renew every house, every street and every town. Russia, you need to learn the words “contribution” and “reparations”. You will pay for everything that you did to the state and to every Ukrainian”.
Article is provided by representatives of Kyiv-Mohyla University who have made their services available to provide accurate, timely, on-the-ground reporting about the war in Ukraine, including nuanced localized ongoing updates on what is happening across the country, as well as commentary and analysis.