Russia and Ukraine: the desperate flight of civilians due to the Russian attacks in Irpin


The Ukrainian city of Irpin was the scene this weekend of Russian shelling and attacks on civilians fleeing hostilities.

At least one mortar attack caused the death of four peopleincluding a mother and two children, who were fleeing the town, according to the BBC.

Both the BBC and the Getty or EPA agencies collected harsh images in the area, including several bodies of civilians lying on the road along with the suitcases they were carrying.

The attacks took place throughout the only escape route used by locals, according to agencies.

Located 20 kilometers northwest of Kiev, Irpín ended up on the front line of battle between Ukrainian and Russian forces over the past week, reported Jeremy Bowen, a BBC correspondent stationed in the area.

“Civilians were trying to escape under a bridge that Ukrainian forces had partially blown up to stop the Russian advance,” Bowen described from the scene.

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The bridge was being used as a route to evacuate residents.

“Civilians are supposed to be protected under the laws of war,” the correspondent said, showing footage of explosions and other Russian attacks en route from Irpin to Kiev.

The scenes collected by the BBC showed families with children trying to escape with their suitcases, bags and even transporting their pets. Among them, some disabled people being helped by other residents and by the Ukrainian forces.

A Ukrainian soldier helps an old man in his escape from Irpin

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“I was terrified,” a young Ukrainian woman named Zarina Tereschenko told the BBC about her flight from Irpin to Kiev under the bridge.

“It was a horrible moment.”

Civilians fleeing Irpin.

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The injured and evacuees were taken to a coordination zone in a suburb of the city, Bowen said. Buses were also organized to transport civilians to the capital.

Vladimir, an 85-year-old war veteran, managed to get his family out and harshly criticized the action of the Russian troops.

“They are killing people for no reason, that’s why it’s so painful“, he told the BBC.

The capital, the BBC correspondent reported, remained mostly “intact” over the weekend, but the Russian Army intensified its hostilities.

Families fleeing Irpin.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that anyone who commits atrocities against Ukrainian civilians will be punished.

Zelensky assured that the Ukrainians they will not forgive or forget what happened and accused the invading Russian troops of deliberate assassinations.

“There will be no safe place on Earth for you. Except the grave,” she noted.

A group of men help an old woman in her attempt to leave Irpin

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Ukrainian authorities denounce that Russia is attacking civilian targets across the countryincluding hospitals and schools.

Russia rejects it, arguing that it is carrying out a “special military operation” against Ukrainian “nationalists” and “neo-Nazis”.

Like Irpin, the small towns of Hostomel and Bucha, northwest of Kiev, have been the scene of violent clashes in recent days.

This Monday, a new ceasefire proposed by Russia to allow the departure of civilians from key cities has been considered by Ukraine as “immoral”.

According to the Russian announcement, people in Kiev will be offered a safe path to Belarus, while those in Kharkiv will be able to have a safe path to Russia itself.

Civilians on a bus fleeing Irpin.

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Corridors from the besieged cities of Mariupol and Sumy will lead to Ukrainian and Russian cities.

The two ceasefire attempts in Mariupol, where people are running out of food, failed over the weekend.

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