Pro-Russian Leader in Eastern Ukraine Claims Kyiv to Blame for Attacks That Killed Civilians

The leader of the pro-Russian, self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine has claimed Kyiv is to blame over attacks that reportedly killed civilians.

The images appear to show the aftermath of an attack on a civilian area, with what appears to be blood seen on the pavement and a smashed shop window. Soldiers are in the scene where a car also appears to have been damaged.

Leonid Pasechnik shared the footage, saying on May 27: "Four children and 10 adults were injured, three people were killed, civilian infrastructure was damaged - this is the result of a cynical, vile shelling of Svatovo by Ukrainian fascists using the Tochka-U tactical missile system.

Svatovo in Luhansk hit by shelling
A pro-Russian leader says Ukrainian forces hit the village of Svatovo in the Luhansk region with a Tochka-U rocket. People's Militia of the LPR/Zenger

"The enemy was aiming at the center of the city, pursuing only one goal - to kill as many civilians as possible, to cause as much damage to the infrastructure as possible.

"The tragedy could have been many times larger if the air defense units of the People's Militia of the LPR had not acted promptly.

"As many as three 'Points-U' flew across Svatovo, only the cluster warhead of one of them detonated.

"My sincerest condolences to all those who lost loved ones and relatives as a result of this monstrous shelling. I wish all the injured a speedy recovery.

"The denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will continue until the complete defeat of the neo-Nazis. Kyiv will answer for all its crimes!"

The LPR's leader's claims have not been independently verified.

Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a "special military operation." May 31 marks the 97th day of the campaign.

From February 24 to May 30, the total combat losses of Russian troops stand at around 30,350 personnel, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military also claims that Russia has lost 1,349 tanks, 3,282 armored fighting vehicles, 643 artillery systems, 205 multiple launch rocket systems, 93 anti-aircraft systems, 207 warplanes, 174 helicopters, 2,258 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 13 vessels, 507 unmanned aerial vehicles, 48 units of special equipment, and 118 cruise missiles.

Russian troops have reportedly stepped up their attacks on the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk after claiming to have captured a nearby rail hub in Lyman, with Kyiv repeatedly calling for longer-range weapons from the West to help it push back the Russians in the Donbas region.

The Ukrainian military said: "Two Sievierodonetsk residents were killed with Russian shells, and five more injured. Most of them are from the same residential quarter in the old part of the city. They were cooking food in the yard as the shelling suddenly began. Two Syrotyne residents were seriously injured. All the injured received first aid and were taken to hospitals in Donetsk region."

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.