It was understood that about 30,000-40,000 of the pre-war population of Lysychansk of about 100,000 people remained in the rear, ensuring that Ukrainian troops sometimes shared apartment buildings and other buildings with civilians, many of whom they hoped to defeat.
Mikhailo, a resident of an apartment complex in Lysichansk, who gave his first name only to avoid reprisals, said that the Russians “bombed the school, the technical school, the“ Selbo ”shop, etc. “Everywhere the Ukrainian army is bombed and everything is destroyed.”
Russian officials claim not to attack civilian areas, but Ukrainian and international investigators say they have compelling evidence to the contrary. Ukrainian politicians and human rights advocates, as well as international scholars, have argued that Ukrainian soldiers were largely forced to defend the territory under a Russian offensive.
“The complete absence of any sites, equipment, or even a single soldier near a school, hospital, kindergarten, church, or museum will not protect them from Russian attacks with aircraft, artillery, tanks, incendiary ammunition or cassettes,” Roman Avramenko, director of the NGO TruthHounds wrote. , which investigates war crimes, is on Facebook. “The presence of civilians did not prevent the Russians from attacking these objects.”
Others pointed to the well-documented atrocities committed by the Russian army in urban areas.
Olha Reshetilova, of the Media Initiative for Human Rights, a Ukrainian human rights organization, said, referring to the suburbs of Kyiv that have become synonymous with barbarism. “Therefore, I do not want the Ukrainian army to leave my city.”