Russia has not stopped killing and wounding Ukraine’s civilians
The shelling of the Kharkiv Region
On 9 January 2023, Russian forces again shelled the Kharkiv Region. Two women were killed in Shevchenkove (pop. 854; 2001); possibly there were other victims. Shevchenkove (Krasnohradsky district) is roughly 30 kms from the border with Russia. It was occupied until September 2022 when it was liberated by Ukraine’s armed forces.
According to preliminary information, the town’s market was hit on 9 January by S-300 missiles. Ukrainian soldiers say that the Russians often use these missiles to strike ground targets, and not as, first intended, as long-range surface-to-air missiles.
Developed in the USSR, the S-300 missile system is today fielded by the armies of Russia and other former Eastern Bloc countries. Originally intended to defend against air raids and cruise missiles, subsequent variations of the S-300 were adapted to intercept ballistic missiles. First deployed in 1979, the S-300 was made to defend military bases and large industrial and administrative facilities from the air, as well controlling airspace against enemy strike aircraft. During the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia modified these systems to perform surface-to-surface strikes.
Soon after the attack, Oleh Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration (RMA), said at least six people had been wounded. They were all receiving medical attention. Among the victims was a little girl with shrapnel wounds in her neck. She was sent to be operated on and, wrote Sinehubov, was now “struggling for her life.”
Journalists say that one of the female victims owned a meat stall at the market. Saleswoman Nina Goroshko told ‘Suspilne Kharkiv’ that the woman’s body was retrieved from under the rubble. “She was a very good person, always helping others — I can’t imagine life without her,” said Goroshko as she shared stories about the dead woman. The woman’s granddaughter Sophia was wounded during the attack, she added. (Suspilne Kharkiv is an online media outlet with 67,000 subscribers.)
A 50-year-old woman was also killed in the attack, announced Vitalii Kritskyi, head of the Kharkiv RMA press service.
The enemy “deliberately attacked a civilian site, the local market” said the head of the Kharkiv RMA; “there simply aren’t soldiers in Shevchenkove.”
The shelling of Ochakiv (Mykolaiv Region)
That same day, Russian forces also shelled the town of Ochakiv (pop. 14,360; 2017) in the Mykolaiv Region to the West.
“Ochakiv has been shelled”, reported Vitalii Kim, head of the Mykolaiv RMA, “five calls were made to 103 [emergency medical services]. The hospital has been damaged; many windows and doors on the hospital grounds have been damaged. No deaths [reported] as a result of the attack”. He added, the wounded continued to come to the hospital after the Russian attack.
Hanna Zamazeyeva, head of the Mikolayiv Region Council, reported that 180 windows and 22 doors were affected. Residential dwellings and administrative buildings also suffered. With the temperature below freezing, she stressed, more than one hundred buildings were left without windows or roofs. “This is everyday terrorism,” commented Zamazeyeva, “the inhabitants of Ochakiv will never forgive the occupying forces!”
Preliminary information indicated that at least ten people were injured during the Russian attack.
At 5.39 pm Hanna Zamazeyeva, head of the Mykolaiv Region Council, wrote on her Telegram channel that 10 people were wounded in the attack, including a two-year-old child. Later Vitalii Kim, head of the Region’s Military Administration, announced that the number of victims in the town had risen to 15.
The following morning, Vsevolod Sevastyanov wrote on his Facebook page about the extensive damage suffered by Ochakiv (Sevastyanov is a journalist with the ‘Babel’ media outlet):
“The windows of my parents’ house were blown out; grandma’s roof has been damaged. Before night fell, they stuffed sheets into the window frames, trying to retain some warmth in the freezing temperature. 80% of the town, more than three hundred buildings, are without windows. Their metal doors were so twisted that many people were simply trapped in their own homes. My school and kindergarten are without windows. Regrettably, building materials are in short supply.
“A great deal of damage has been done and everyone needs support.”
The Kherson Region
According to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, one man died as a result of Russian attacks on Kherson (pop. 279,000; 2022 est.). On his Facebook page a law-enforcement officer made the following entry:
“On 9 January, about 12.55 pm, the occupying forces yet again shelled the city of Kherson. An enemy shell landed near a supermarket. The man who was walking past died there as a result of the explosion. A woman in the vicinity was injured. Preliminary information is that the Russians carried out a mortar attack.”
The woman was pierced by shards of a Russian shell, said Yaroslav Yanushevich, head of the Kherson RMA, on his Telegram channel.
That evening Russian artillery yet again shelled the city. According to Yanushevich, an enemy shell fell “exactly at the centre of a residential area” and a fire broke out in a residential building. One person died. The full extent of the damage is being established.
Meanwhile, on the temporarily occupied districts of the Kherson Region enforced disappearances of individuals continued. The Region’s police reported that “a 60-year-old woman and her 32-year-old nephew were abducted from a village in the Oleshkivsky district by Russian soldiers” who also seized two of the family’s automobiles. The present location of the abducted individuals was unknown.
Law enforcement officers also received information from Ivanovka, a temporarily occupied settlement, that at least ten Russian soldiers had taken over the houses left by local residents who had moved to Ukrainian-controlled areas.
On 9 January 2023, the Kherson Region police were told of another civilian death resulting from the previous Russian attack:
“A 72-year-old died in the Beryslav hospital from severe wounds received during the shelling of the town on the night of 5 January by the Russian army”, wrote local law-enforcement officers on their Facebook page. Beryslav has a population of almost 12,000 inhabitants (2022 est.).
They added that the civilian population continued to suffer from explosive objects.
In the Velikooleksandrovsky rural district of the Beryslav district, for instance, a local resident was injured when his bicycle struck an IED. He was cycling along a path crossing a field to the Sadok village. “As a result, he suffered numerous wounds to his extremities and his neck” reported the police, “At present his life is not in danger.” The man possibly detonated an anti-personnel mine.
A 49-year-old man received a mine-blast trauma and numerous shrapnel wounds near the Bobrovy Kut village (Beryslav district). “The victim was crossing the former position of the Russian forces, he said, when he stumbled over a tripwire and there was an explosion,” law-enforcement officers reported, adding that the man was presently in hospital.
The police once again warned local residents not to venture into plantations or riverbanks and not to use paths across fields. In no case should they ignore signs and warnings to keep clear of mined areas. They should take particular care in areas “where fighting had taken place or enemy forces were based until specialist bomb-disposal experts had examined the territory, stressed the police.
The State Emergency Services have created an interactive map of areas infected by explosive objects. It is illustrated by a list of the most common explosive objects and accompanied by clear instructions as to what to do and what not to do if you come across a suspicious object.
The Luhansk Region
The head of the Luhansk Region RMA Sergiy Haidai reported that fighting continued for the Novoselivske village, adding that the village was totally deserted and destroyed:
“The last local survivor, a woman, was recently shot dead by a Russian sniper,” wrote Haidai on his Telegram channel.
Russian forces were continuing to “batter” the Nevskoe village, Haidai added: “Not a single building stands undamaged today in Nevskoe, but more than one hundred civilians are still in the village. Two of them were killed today and two more were wounded as a result of enemy shelling.”
The Donetsk Region
An industrial enterprise in Kostiantynivka (pop. 67,350; 2022 est.) came under attack by the Russian army, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk RMA. Also subject to mass shelling was Kurakhivka (pop. 2,600; 2022) where at least two civilians were injured and more than twenty houses, damaged.
The Russians were deliberately killing the Region’s civilian population and destroying its industrial capacity, said Kirilenko. “Those are their true aims, to destroy everyone and everything in our land. But we shall survive and rebuild better than before!” wrote the head of the Donetsk RMA on his Telegram channel.
At 10.58 that night Kirill Timoshenko, deputy head of the President’s Office, announced that Kramatorsk, site of the 8 April 2022 atrocity, had been struck by Russian missiles. “The occupying forces hit a road and a vehicle with passengers,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. Preliminary information was that two of those travelling in the automobile had been killed.
Head of the Donetsk RMA Kirilenko confirmed the deaths and commented on his Facebook page: “As a result of yesterday evening’s attack on Kramatorsk at least 13 people were injured. No less than twenty houses were damaged in the attack and a fire broke out in the private sector. Firefighters and the rescue services are working at the scene.”
The full consequences of the attack were being established.
Throughout the day, Russian soldiers hit the districts of the central Ukrainian Sumy Region 94 times. Thankfully, no one was hurt. As of 9 pm, however, 154 households in the Bilopilsky district were left without electricity as a result of the Russian shelling.
The preceding 24 hours: shelling, cluster munitions, incendiary devices
According to information supplied by Ukraine’s Military Administrations, the Russian army shelled population centres, large and small, across nine of the country’s 25 Regions during Sunday, 8 January 2023 and during the night of 8-9 January. [These included southern, eastern and central parts of Ukraine.]
The Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Mykolaiv and Kherson Regions were all affected. Russian artillery fired into the Sumy Region alone 144 times on Sunday, 8 January. The following day the press centre of the Zaporizhzhia Region police announced that during the previous 48 hours the Russian army had fired shells, including cluster munitions, into the Region using artillery, multiple rocket launchers and drones. As a result, two law-enforcement officers were wounded and taken to hospital.
On 8 January, Russia also fired incendiary devices into Kherson, [a city it had abandoned in November 2022].