UKRAINE/UNITED STATES: The United States of America will hold Moscow accountable for its heinous “war crimes” in Ukraine, the White House said on Monday, hours after Russia targeted and attacked Ukrainian cities with drones during morning rush hour, killing at least four people in a Kyiv apartment complex.
The POTUS’s White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing that Washington “strongly condemns Russia’s missile strikes today” and said the attack “continues to demonstrate (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s brutality”.
Addressing the transfer of a new military aid package of about $725m for Ukraine, which was announced last Friday, she said: “We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.
“… We will continue to impose costs on Russia, hold them accountable for its war crimes.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky appeared in his routine nightly video address on Monday and confirmed that there had been more Russian attacks, especially targeting civilian infrastructure. “Right now, there is a new Russian drone attack. There are (drones) that have been shot down.”
Interfax Ukraine news agency said Telegram users had reported blasts in the town of Fastiv just outside Kyiv and in the southern port of Odesa.
Russian drones also attacked infrastructure across Ukraine in the second wave of air raids this week, in the early hours of the morning when people are going to work or school.
Ukrainian soldiers retaliated, gunning down the drones after severe blasts jolted the capital city of Kyiv on Monday morning. As residents raced for shelter, an anti-aircraft rocket could be seen streaking into the morning sky, followed by an explosion and orange flames.
A pregnant woman named Vika was named one of the casualties, who was killed due to the kamikaze drone attack in Kyiv. She died in her own apartment, with her husband Bogdan and their cat, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said. Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi noted there had been deaths in other cities but did not provide a total toll.
In other significant developments, the European Union is increasing military assistance to Ukraine to €3.1 billion and launching the EU military training mission for the Ukrainian military. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, announced this on Twitter.
The bodies of 152 civilians and 35 military personnel were exhumed in the de-occupied Lyman, Donetsk region, as confirmed by the National Police. About 40 burials remain unexamined, which are difficult to access.
A preliminary review of exhumed bodies in Lyman showed that people died due to blast wounds. However, law enforcement officers are also aware of cases of death by violence. An investigative examination is now underway.
Amid reports of Iran-made kamikaze drones being sent to the Russian military for use as “suicide drones” to target civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, Kyiv now urges Iran to stop the transfer of such bloody weapons to the enemy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed.
“Providing weapons for waging a war of aggression in Ukraine and killing Ukrainian citizens makes Iran an accomplice to the crime of aggression, war crimes, and terrorist acts of Russia against Ukraine,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Iran is under intense pressure from the international media and human rights watchdog, the United Nations, to curb its crackdown efforts on fierce demonstrations across the country over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in the custody of the morality police.