A crater in front of a damaged house in Kostyantynivka, 2 April A crater in front of a damaged house in Kostyantynivka, 2 April  (AFP or licensors)

Deadly clashes spoil Palm Sunday in Ukraine

Western Palm Sunday was far from peaceful in Ukraine, with Kyiv saying at least three civilians were killed and six wounded in Russian shelling of the town of Kostiantynivka. The reported destruction came as Ukrainian forces desperately tried to push back Russian forces in Ukraine’s volatile east.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Andriy Yermak, a senior member of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s staff, expressed his anxiety about recent Russian attacks.

In a statement on social media, he said that “Russians carried out massive shelling of the town of Kostiantynivka” in eastern Ukraine and that more than a handful of people were killed and injured.

Photos published by Yermak showed the partial destruction of buildings and craters from explosions. 

But reporters could not independently verify the authenticity of the footage and the number of casualties.

Bakhmut fighting

Kostiantynivka, home to about 70,000 people before the war, is just 20 kilometers or 12.5 miles west of Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting.

For at least eight long months, Ukrainian forces have tried to push back Russian forces trying to capture the city. 

In recent days clashes appeared to have intensified, observed Roman, a Ukrainian soldier fighting in Bakhmut. “So we are in Bakhmut again. We were digging trenches, but now it is time to fend off the invaders,” he said in a video message with shots and shelling clearly audible. 

“While we are alive, we are protecting our land,” added Roman, his words nearly disappearing in the sound of battles. 

Roman said he lost several comrades in the battle as the war continues to make new victims impacting millions of people in Ukraine and Russia. 

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02 April 2023, 16:11