The Slatest

Video Shows Moment Mortar Killed Four Civilians Trying to Flee Ukrainian City Near Kyiv

Three people in single file hold onto a Ukrainian service member carrying a child across a destroyed bridge toward another service member extending his hand
People evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, during heavy shelling and bombing on Saturday. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Andriy Dubchak, a freelance journalist working for the New York Times, filmed a devastating scene that shows the moment a mortar fired by Russian forces advancing on Kyiv killed four people who were trying to flee the nearby city of Irpin. The Russian troops fired mortar shells at a bridge that was being used by people trying to flee the fighting in Irpin, located on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv. Hundreds of people had been gathered around the bridge since Saturday, and although Ukrainian soldiers were in the area, they weren’t fighting anyone but rather helping civilians carry their luggage and children, reports the Times.

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The people fleeing had to cross around 100 yards of exposed street, and suddenly the mortars started getting closer. At one point, panicked civilians suddenly realized “there was nothing to hide behind.” NYT photojournalist Lynsey Addario explains what happened next:

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A shell landed in the street, sending up a cloud of concrete dust and leaving one family — a woman, her teenage son and a her daughter, who appeared to be about 8 years old; and a family friend — sprawled on the ground.

Soldiers rushed to help, but the woman and children were dead. A man traveling with them still had a pulse but was unconscious and severely wounded. He later died.

Their luggage, a blue roller suitcase and some backpacks, was scattered about, along with a green carrying case for a small dog that was barking.

The apparent indiscriminate shelling suggests that Russian forces are either targeting civilians or simply aren’t taking care to make sure their mortar shells aren’t a risk to civilians. Reuters also published footage from Irpin showing civilians and reporters trying to get away from the shelling. Around eight civilians were killed by Russian shelling in Irpin, according to Mayor Oleksander Markyshin.

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On the 11th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a second effort to evacuate civilians had to be brought to a halt as Russian troops didn’t stop their attacks. The continued shelling means that around 200,000 people were stopped from evacuating the besieged port city of Mariupol, where food and water are reportedly running scarce. Shelling of several key cities increased overnight as Russian President Vladimir Putin said the invasion would only end once “Kyiv ceases hostilities.”

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