Russia Executes Own Soldiers, Ukraine Issues Evacuation Orders: Latest Developments in Ukraine War
(CNN) – The war in eastern Ukraine continues to escalate as Ukrainian forces hold out against a new offensive by Russian troops. Meanwhile, the White House has accused Russia of executing its own soldiers for insubordination. In response to increased airstrikes by Russia, authorities in southern Ukraine have issued evacuation orders for civilians. Additionally, security concerns have been raised after attacks in a western Ukrainian city affected a nuclear power plant.
The United States has expressed concern over Russia’s treatment of its soldiers, claiming that executions have taken place for refusing to follow orders. National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby stated that Russian commanders are even threatening to execute entire units if they retreat from Ukrainian artillery fire. However, no further details were provided regarding these allegations. Russia has previously been accused of using “barrier troops” to prevent soldiers from deserting the front. Kirby condemned these actions, stating that it is reprehensible and outrageous to execute one’s own soldiers.
Kirby also noted that Russian forces mobilized in the region are untrained, unequipped, and unprepared for combat. Russia has been employing “human wave tactics” as part of its offensive strategy. Although Russia still possesses some offensive capabilities and can achieve tactical advantages, it shows no regard for the lives of its soldiers.
In Avdiivka, heavy battles continue as Ukrainian forces repel attacks and claim to have eliminated a significant number of Russian soldiers. The inclement weather has slowed down Russian forces, making it challenging for them to surround the city and secure high ground. Videos shared by unofficial Ukrainian military accounts depict intense fighting and destroyed military equipment. Avdiivka has been a frontline city since 2014 when Moscow-backed separatists seized a large portion of the Donbas region. Most residents have fled the fighting, and remaining civilians are now leaving the city with the assistance of the police. Similarly, in Kupiansk, Ukrainian soldiers are resisting Russian attempts to capture a strategic railway crossing.
In response to Russia’s continued attacks on residential areas, Ukrainian officials have ordered mandatory evacuations of children in the Kherson region. Over 90 children have already been evacuated, while approximately 700 children remain in territories subject to intense bombing. Russian forces have been dropping nearly 35 guided aerial bombs daily on settlements along the Dnieper River, resulting in civilian casualties. The authorities are urging parents to prioritize the safety of their children by moving them away from the conflict zone. According to official Ukrainian government data, over 500 Ukrainian children have been killed, and more than 1,000 have been injured since the start of the war in February 2022.
In yet another alarming incident, shock waves from explosions near the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine shattered windows at the facility and temporarily disrupted power to external radiation monitoring stations. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, expressed concern about the incident, warning that colliding into a nuclear power plant must be avoided at all costs. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of attacking the nuclear facility, citing the shooting down of two drones near the site. The incident underscores the precarious nuclear security situation in Ukraine, particularly in light of the occupation of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant by Russian troops since March 2022.
With tensions escalating in the region, it remains critical for international efforts to de-escalate the conflict and prevent further loss of life and instability. The situation in Ukraine serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of war and the urgent need for diplomatic resolutions.