Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Tuesday accused Russia of “mercilessly killing” civilians in the southern city of Kherson following a missile strike that left five people dead and 16 others injured.
“A vehicle park, residential areas, a high-rise building, and a public transport stop were hit,” Zelenskyy said on the Telegram social messaging app. “The Russian army is heavily shelling Kherson. Again, mercilessly killing the civilian population.”
“The world has no right to forget for a single moment that Russian cruelty and aggression know no bounds,” the Ukrainian leader said. He posted photographs online showing corpses lying in the street.
Russia has denied targeting civilians.
Ukraine recaptured Kherson in November after eight months of Russian occupation, forcing Russian forces to abandon the only regional capital they had seized since invading Ukraine on February 24 of last year. But Moscow’s shelling of the city continues.
Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said Russian troops had targeted the city “probably by Grad” multiple rocket-launchers and that 20 explosions were heard.
The attack came as Russian President Vladimir Putin was defending the invasion in a speech before the Russian parliament in Moscow, and a day after U.S. President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to assure Zelenskyy of the continued support of the U.S. and its Western allies.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gan in a speech Tuesday expressed deep concern about the possibility of the Ukraine conflict spiraling out of control.
“We urge certain countries to immediately stop fueling the fire,” Qin said.
The comments came a day after the United States and European Union warned Monday of unspecified consequences should China provide lethal aid for Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters there would be “real consequences” in U.S.-China relations and that he had shared the U.S. concerns directly with top Chinese foreign policy official Wang Yi.
“I think China understands what’s at risk were it to proceed with providing that support to Russia,” Blinken said.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels that he had also discussed the situation with Wang Yi and asked him not to provide arms to Russia.
Borrell said such Chinese aid “would be a red line in our relationship.”
Some information for this story came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.