Jul 11, 2022 - World

Zelensky accuses Russian forces of targeting civilians in Donetsk strike

Firefighters and members of a rescue team search the debris after a building was partially destroyed following shelling, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022.

Firefighters and members of a rescue team search the debris after a building was destroyed following shelling in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, on Sunday. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images

Russian forces launched a massive military assault on Ukraine's second city Kharkiv and other eastern towns following a deadly weekend strike on an apartment block in the Donetsk region town of Chasiv Yar, Ukraine's general staff said Monday.

Driving the news: No casualties were immediately reported in a strike on an apartment building in Kharkiv, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address late Sunday that "dozens of people" were still trapped after Saturday night's strike in Chasiv Yar that killed at least 15 people.

What they're saying: Zelensky accused Russian forces of "targeting" civilians in the Chasiv Yar residential building strike, as rescuers continued to search for survivors.

  • "Anyone who gives orders for such strikes, anyone who carries them out in ordinary cities, in residential areas, kills absolutely deliberately," he added.

The big picture: Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of committing genocide in Ukraine on several occasions.

  • The Kremlin has repeatedly denied its forces have committed atrocities including the targeting of civilians, as the International Criminal Court and others investigate whether human rights violations such as war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.

Worth noting: The United Nations recently released a report that found Ukraine's armed forces assisted in a March assault on a nursing home in the southeast of Kyiv that Ukrainian officials blamed on Russia's military.

Between the lines: War crimes have been historically hard to investigate, and often they're even more challenging to prosecute, Axios' Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath writes.

What to watch: The U.K. Ministry of Defense suggested in an intelligence report on Monday that 138 days since Putin's forces launched their invasion, the war is hitting a stalemate in key regions.

  • "Russian artillery bombardments continued in the northern Donbas sector, but probably without any major territorial advances" as of Sunday, the Defense Ministry said.
  • "Ukrainian forces continued to apply localized pressure to the Russian defensive line in north-east Kherson oblast [province], also probably without achieving territorial gain," the Defense Ministry added.

Go deeper: Independent experts accuse Russia of inciting genocide in Ukraine

Go deeper