Ukraine says a family of nine has been shot dead in their home in the Russian-occupied eastern town of Volnovakha.
Photos of the home released by authorities show a gruesome crime scene, with the victims dead in their beds amid blood-spattered walls.
Ukrainian-backed prosecutors in Donetsk province, where Volnovakha is located, said the killings occurred after the owner refused a request by a group of men in military uniform to leave the house so the Russian forces will remain there. The office said the victims included two small children.
Russian investigators have reported that two soldiers from Russia’s Far East have been detained in connection with the killings. Soldiers signed contracts with the Russian military to serve in Ukraine.
Volnovakha has been occupied by Russian forces since shortly after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk regions seized government buildings in 2014 and proclaimed the regions “people’s republics.” “independent.
The move follows Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian troops are locked in a fierce standoff in eastern Ukraine as the war enters its second year.
Russian forces launched a new offensive campaign around the city of Bakhmut, especially near the strategic town of Avdiivka.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive that began in June has progressed slowly and has recovered several hundred square kilometers of territory.