Kharkiv: Russia’s withdrawal from another major Ukrainian city reveals new evidence of atrocities

The first — three cars laden with a chaplain, dogs, and a frowning frown — speeds through the village of Stary Saltyv from the north, fleeing the violence as Ukraine pushes Russian forces out of Rubigny. “We don’t even know what’s going on,” said one of the drivers. “We didn’t stay around to find out.”
Ukrainian officials said this week that they are continuing to advance toward the Russian border, liberating small villages on the outskirts of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city before The invasion has begun. The Ukrainian advance threatens the symbolic embarrassment of expelling the Kremlin’s forces to their borders while posing a strategic threat to cut off Russian supply lines to Ukraine and its forces south in the Donbass region. Progress has been rapid over the past weeks.

The second convoy talks about what Ukraine found in Russia’s wake – five cars pierced with bullets, two burned in ashes.

On May 4, Ukrainian officials said that this convoy was trying to leave the town when it was bombed by Russian forces. Bullet holes are concentrated in some drivers’ doors. Children’s clothing and toys are scattered around the vehicle. Ukrainian officials said four civilians, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed when Russian forces opened fire on this convoy.

CNN escorts from the Kharkiv Regional Defense Force say that a tank shell hit one of the cars, explaining how the front part of it twisted beyond recognition.

Moscow says its forces do not target civilians, a claim that is contradicted by the evidence Apparent atrocities CNN has seen it here and elsewhere in Ukraine.

A short distance from the road, to the nearby forest and hills, are the remains of a Russian caravan. Our escorts say that the remnants of an armored personnel carrier whose tracks were torn apart by a rocket-propelled grenade in the trees. Sleeping bags, prayer books, grenades and rations litter the leaves as Russian troops sleep outside the village. Two Russian bodies were found there days ago and have since been buried.

Ukrainian officials said a convoy of vehicles was trying to leave Stary Saltyev when it was fired upon by Russian forces.

On the forehead of the hill is another rare piece of wreckage – the remains of a Russian T90M tank destroyed days earlier, apparently by a recoilless rifle supplied by the Swedish from Carl Gustaf. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a video clip apparently captured by a tank’s drone being destroyed in the strike, showing the vulnerability of Russia’s latest armor to NATO’s hand-held weapons. The tank’s turret was dislodged and balls from its shells piled up in the ashes.

The Ukrainian counterattack to disrupt Russian supply lines continues. Ukraine’s General Staff said on Friday that Russian forces “did not conduct offensive operations in the direction of Kharkiv. The main efforts were focused on preventing the advance of our forces in the area of ​​the settlement of Vysili,” another village less than an hour’s drive from Staryi Saltiv in normal times. The Ukrainians recaptured a number of villages in this area east of Kharkiv.

As Russian forces continue to retreat, three bridges have been demolished in the Kharkiv region, according to satellite images obtained by CNN on Friday. It seems likely that Russian units destroyed the bridges in an attempt to protect their supply lines from further Ukrainian advances.

Children's clothing and toys are scattered around the vehicle.

Elsewhere in the Kharkiv region, the Russians seem to use artillery sporadically but to lethal effect. And shelling on the town of Al-Derhashi, Thursday, killed two people, according to the local administration, and destroyed a humanitarian center and medical facilities.

In a village near Stari Saltiv, the locals seem less aware of the details of their occupation and liberation. One man, Victor, is at a well filling tin buckets because there has been no electricity or water on his street for weeks. Only three of his neighbors remained.

He said, “How calm? My heart is about to jump out of my chest.” “Everything around us is exploding. There is a hole in the garden as a result of a shell hitting. The roof is punctured by a shell, the fence is gone. It is really difficult. We sleep in our clothes. They have fallen nearby. There is nowhere to hide.”