Ukraine-Russia War Live News: Latest Updates

March 6, 2022, 7:51 a.m. ET March 6, 2022, 7:51 a.m. ET [Warning: This post includes an image of graphic violence.] IRPIN, Ukrain...

Lynsey Addario

[Warning: This post includes an image of graphic violence.]

IRPIN, Ukraine – A Russian force advancing on Kiev on Sunday fired mortar shells at a damaged bridge used by evacuees fleeing the fighting, sending panicked civilians running, kicking up a cloud of dust and leaving three family members dead on the sidewalk.

Hundreds of people have gathered around the damaged bridge over the Irpin River since Saturday. Ukrainian forces had blown up the bridge earlier to slow the Russian advance. Only a dozen Ukrainian soldiers were in the immediate area of ​​the bridge on Sunday, not fighting but helping to carry civilians’ luggage and children.

To cross a hundred meters of exposed street on the side of the bridge closer to Kiev, people seeking to flee to the capital formed small groups and ran together. The soldiers ran out, picked up children or luggage, and ran for cover behind a cinder block wall.

The mortar shells fell first about 100 yards from the bridge, then moved in a series of thunderclaps into a section of street where people were fleeing.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

As the mortars closed in on the stream of civilians, people ran, shooting children, trying to find a safe place. But there was nothing to hide behind. A shell landed in the street, sending up a cloud of concrete dust and leaving a family – a mother, father, teenage son and daughter who appeared to be around 8 years old – sprawled on the ground.

Soldiers rushed to help, but the wife and children were dead. The father still had a pulse but was unconscious and seriously injured.

Their luggage, a blue wheeled suitcase and backpacks, was strewn about, along with a green briefcase for a small barking dog.

Ukrainian forces were engaged in clashes nearby, but not at the site as civilians moved along the street. Outgoing mortar rounds could be heard from a Ukrainian position about 200 yards away.

The bombardment suggested either targeting the Irpin evacuation routes, which Ukrainian authorities accused the Russian military after a railway line used for evacuations was hit on Saturday, or disregarding the risk of civilian casualties.

Russian forces have for days passed through three small towns northwest of Kiev, Hostomel, Bucha and Irpin, and fighting has driven evacuees from the area to the capital.

Early Sunday morning, the city’s military commander, Oleksiy Kuleba, said in a televised statement that the exit routes were so dangerous that they were in fact blocked. “Unfortunately, unless there was a ceasefire,” people couldn’t get out, he said.

But the civilians were still trying to escape, first to Kiev, then perhaps west to a safer place.

Soldiers at the site also assisted an injured member of the Territorial Defense Forces, the organization coordinating armed volunteers for the defense of the city. He had been shot in the arm.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Ukraine-Russia War Live News: Latest Updates
Ukraine-Russia War Live News: Latest Updates
Newsrust - US Top News
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