** Warning: Some images included in this article may shock you. **
At least 24 civilians, including a dozen children, were found dead in their car in northeastern Ukraine near Kupyansk, regional governor Oleg Synegoubov said on Saturday.
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“A convoy of cars with dead civilians on board was spotted,” he said on Telegram. According to a preliminary count he shared, “24 people, including a pregnant woman and 13 children” were killed.
“The inmates [russes] attacked those civilians trying to escape the shelling.” “They fired at point-blank range,” he added.
According to Mr. Synegoubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, where the bodies were discovered, “police and experts went to the scene” and “an investigation is underway”.
According to the regional prosecutor’s office, seven cars driven by civilians were found.
“Two cars burned out completely, there were children with their parents: they burned alive,” he said in a statement.
For the head of the Ukrainian security service, Vassili Maliouk, “the [Russes] are defeated on the battlefield and, in their desperation, respond by killing civilians”.
“But they will not escape punishment. We will find everyone and hold them accountable for the atrocities committed,” he said.
On Friday, an AFP team saw at least 11 bodies of civilians shot dead in their cars on a road abandoned by the Russians during their retreat from the region last week.
The convoy of vehicles seen by AFP on Friday was on a road leading out of the village of Kyrylivka, 70 km east of Kharkiv, when it was attacked.
On the spot, the bodies still lay there, in or next to six vehicles. A minibus burned out completely, four bodies lay on the seats, one of which appeared to be that of a child.
The dozen civilians were found where fighting between Ukrainians and Russians recently took place as Kiev forces led a major counter-offensive in the region.
Faced with significant military difficulties, Russian soldiers retreated further east across the Oskil River, but Ukrainians have since managed to cross it, a major achievement for Kyiv.
A pro-Russian separatist official, speaking from Moscow on Thursday, accused the Ukrainian army of firing on a convoy of civilians in the Kharkiv region, killing 30 people, without giving further details.
Since the invasion began, Kyiv has denounced abuses by Moscow troops, allegations Russia has systematically denied.