Russia has widened its strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in the past week following setbacks on the battlefield and is likely to expand its target range further, Britain said on Sunday.
Ukrainians who returned to the northeastern area retaken in Kyiv’s lightning advance earlier this month were searching for their dead while Russian artillery and air strikes kept pounding targets across Ukraine’s east.
Five civilians were killed in Russian attacks in the eastern Donetsk region over the past day and in Nikopol, further west, several dozen residential buildings, gas pipelines and power lines were hit, regional governors said on Sunday.
Britain’s defence ministry said Russian strikes at civilian infrastructure, including a power grid and a dam, have intensified over the past seven days.
“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” it said in an intelligence update.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address that authorities had found a mass grave containing the bodies of 17 soldiers in Izium, some of which he said bore signs of torture.
Residents of Izium have been searching for dead relatives at a forest grave site where emergency workers began exhuming bodies last week. The causes of death for those at the grave site have not yet been established, although residents say some died in an air strike.
Ukrainian officials said last week they had found 440 bodies in the woodlands near Izium. They said most of the dead were civilians and the causes of death had not been established.—Reuters