More than 900 civilian bodies have been discovered in the region surrounding the Ukrainian capital following the withdrawal of Russian forces — most of them fatally shot, police said.
The number of dead is double that announced by Ukrainian authorities almost two weeks ago.
Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies were abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials.
He cited police data indicating that 95 per cent died from gunshot wounds.
“Consequently, we understand that under the [Russian] occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Mr Nebytov said.
More bodies are being found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, he added.
The largest number of victims were found in Bucha, where there were more than 350, he said.
According to Mr Nebytov, utilities workers in Bucha gathered and buried bodies in the Kyiv suburb while it remained under Russian control.
He said that Russian troops had been “tracking down” people who expressed strong pro-Ukrainian views.
In the eastern Ukrainian city of of Kharkiv, Russian shelling hit a civilian area, killing seven people including a small child and wounding 34 others, the regional governor said.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Meanwhile a Ukrainian military factory outside Kyiv that produced missiles allegedly used to hit Russia’s Moskva warship was partly destroyed by Russian strikes.
Russia’s defence ministry had pledged more strikes against the Ukrainian capital in response to attacks on Russian targets.
It added that Russian troops hit a “military” factory outside Kyiv late on Thursday (local time) using Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles.
A workshop and an administrative building at the Vizar plant, in the Kyiv suburb of Vyshneve near the international Zhuliany airport, were seriously damaged.
Around 50 vehicles parked near the plant had their windows blown out.
Russia had earlier announced it had hit the factory using Kalibr sea-based long-range missiles.
Russian strike appears to be retaliation for sunken ship
The strike came a day after Ukraine claimed it had destroyed Russia’s Moskva warship, which Moscow later said had sunk.
Russia’s defence ministry spoke only of a fire breaking out and of exploding ammunition. Moscow said more than 500 sailors had been evacuated, but there was no independent confirmation of the fate of the crew.
According to a statement on Ukraine’s state weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom website, the Vizar factory produced Neptune missiles.
Andrei Sizov, a 47-year-old owner of a nearby wood workshop, said the strikes came at night.
“Around 1:30 am, my security guard called me because there was an air strike,” he told AFP.
“There were five hits. My employee was in the office and got thrown off his feet by the blast.”
He believes Russia was taking revenge for the Moskva warship, saying: “They are making us pay for destroying the Moskva.”
The governor of Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, Maxim Marchenko, had said on Thursday local time that the Ukrainian army had used Neptune missiles to strike the Moskva.
Moscow did not confirm this explanation for the sinking of its massive vessel, saying only that a fire broke out on board the 186-metre-long ship.
It said the cruiser sank during an attempt to tow it to the nearest port.
While two workers at the site of the Vizar factory told AFP the strike had not caused any casualties, Ukrainian authorities did not immediately confirm this information.
Cleaners were working to clear the rubble in the partly damaged administrative wing of the building.
Russian strikes in the Kyiv region have abated since the end of March, when Moscow withdrew its troops, saying it wanted to concentrate on Ukraine’s south and east.
But Russia warned on Friday that it would intensify attacks on the capital after accusing Ukraine of targeting Russian border towns.
Kyiv denied this, instead alleging Russia had staged the incidents to stir up “anti-Ukrainian hysteria” in the country.
SOURCE: ABC NEWS