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Putin's vicious war on Ukraine's civilians hardens its military resolve

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By Trudy Rubin

MYKOLAIV, Ukraine ― In the suburbs of this battered port city in southern Ukraine ― once the shipbuilding hub of the country ― the Ukrainian military has begun a counteroffensive to liberate the Black Sea coast from Russian occupation.

But Moscow's war to seize land is also a war against civilians, a deliberate attempt to destroy civilian infrastructure and terrorize the population. Vladimir Putin's grotesque claims that the Russian army doesn't strike civilian infrastructure are contradicted by the endless shelling of residential neighborhoods.

On July 29, the day before I arrived in Mykolaiv, Russia carried out a typical attack ― on a bus stop and a bread line. At 9:30 a.m., Russian artillery fired cluster munitions from miles away at the bus shelter, which is located next to a small square where an aid group was distributing bread. Seven civilians were killed and 17 injured.

When I visited the scene on Saturday, the blood and bodies had been cleared away, but the plexiglass shelter was punched full of holes.

Cluster munitions scatter small bomblets filled with metal shards over a wide area, which makes them the perfect weapon to kill civilians, including children. Human Rights Watch has documented the Russian military's extensive use of these evil weapons as Russian forces repeatedly target residential areas in Mykolaiv ― and other Ukrainian cities and towns.

The only military object in this residential neighborhood of nine- and 10-story apartment buildings is a World War II memorial behind the bus stop........

© The Korea Times

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