The New York Times on Monday published at the top of its front page a chilling photo of four Ukrainian civilians, including two children, who were killed by Russian mortar fire as they were attempting to flee.
According to Lynsey Addario, the New York Times photographer who took the photo, the image shows Ukrainian soldiers trying to save a man, who is lying on the pavement, moments after being hit by a mortar while trying to evacuate the town of Irpin, just west of the capital of Kyiv, on Sunday. Three other people — a woman, her teenage son and her daughter — lay dead behind him. According to Addario, he later died.
People in Irpin have been using the battered bridge, which had been intentionally blown up by Ukrainian forces to slow the Russian advance, to cross into the relative safety of Kyiv.
According to Addario, only a dozen or so Ukrainian soldiers were in the immediate area of the bridge on Sunday. They were not fighting but instead “helping carry civilians’ luggage and children.”
Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushin said that at least eight civilians were killed along the route over the weekend. He said Russian forces were intentionally targeting civilians.
Other photographers in the area captured similar scenes of panicked Ukrainians desperately trying to escape heavy Russian shelling along the evacuation route.
In other cities, Ukrainian officials said Russian artillery fire and airstrikes had prevented residents from making agreed-to evacuations. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sabotaging the effort.
Appearing on CNN on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was aware of the reports of Russians targeting Ukrainian civilians, and that the United States is monitoring them for possible war crimes.
“We’ve seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime,” Blinken said. “They’re very credible. And we’re documenting everything.”