Eight people in Ukraine ‘killed by Russian shelling’ while trying to flee Irpin

Two children reportedly among the dead as town of Irpin continues to face heavy Russian bombardment

Kieran Guilbert
Sunday 06 March 2022 21:03
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<p>Pedestrians cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, 6 March 2022</p>

Pedestrians cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, 6 March 2022

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Eight people in Ukraine have reportedly been killed by Russian shelling as they tried to flee the town of Irpin, just northwest of Kyiv.

The victims included two children and were members of the same family, Irpin mayor Oleksandr Markushyn said, adding that eight people had been killed in total. It was reported that they died on Sunday afternoon after Russian mortar shells hit a damaged bridge they were attempting to cross.

Photographs shared by media outlets showed dead bodies lying on the street in Irpin, covered with sheets, though it was unclear if they were the people in question.

Ukrainian soldiers bolstered defences around Kyiv on Sunday, digging trenches, blocking roads and liaising with civil defence units amid heavy Russian bombardment.

While the capital has been spared the worst of the fighting so far, intense battles have raged in surrounding towns and villages.

Irpin - located 16 miles northwest of Kyiv - has- been bombarded by artillery and air strikes, which have caused heavy damage to residential buildings, roads and bridges.

On Sunday, a sea of people on foot and even in wheelbarrows trudged over the remains of the destroyed bridge to cross a river and leave the town

Assisted by Ukrainian soldiers, they lugged pets, infants, purses and flimsy bags stuffed with minimal possessions. Some of the weak and elderly were carried along the path in blankets and carts. Many were reportedly forced to take cover when missiles struck nearby.

Soldiers and fellow residents helped the elderly hurry to a bus filled with frightened people, some cowering as they waited to be driven to safety.

A man helps an elderly woman to run for cover after heavy shelling on the only escape route used by locals, while Russian troops advance towards the capital, in Irpin, near Kyiv, 6 March 2022

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the southeastern city of Mariupol halted the evacuation of its citizens for the second day in a row, saying it could not go ahead due to Russian shelling.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that his campaign was going according to plan and would not end until Ukraine stopped fighting.

The conflict has driven more than 1.5 million people to leave Ukraine for neighbouring countries in the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on the eleventh day of the conflict.

Millions more displaced internally are heading for the relative safety of western Ukraine.

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