Russia has ordered tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians living near the eastern bank of the Dnipro River to relocate, an order Kyiv says amounts to “forced displacement.”
Russian-installed authorities reported relocating 70,000 residents due to concerns of a major Ukrainian counterattack.
Russia continues to target civilian homes and critical infrastructure, launching four missiles overnight that demolished half of an apartment building in the port city of Mykolaiv.
Russia fired dozens of missiles at Ukrainian energy facilities on Monday, causing blackouts, water supply shortages and cell service outages.
Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the attacks and said Russia had fired about 100 missiles on Monday and Tuesday.
“With temperatures dropping, these Russian attacks aimed at exacerbating human suffering are particularly heinous,” said Price.
Russia has denied targeting civilians. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the missile attacks retaliation for an attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet a few days ago. Ukraine has not confirmed or denied attacking the Russian fleet, which Russia cited Saturday as its reason for suspending its participation in a United Nations-led grain initiative.
Ukrainian officials called for Russia’s isolation from international bodies after its forces hit civilian targets in multiple Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said Tuesday that Russia should be expelled from the G-20 group of nations and that Putin’s invitation to this month’s G-20 summit in Indonesia should be revoked.
“Putin publicly acknowledged ordering missile strikes on Ukrainian civilians and energy infrastructure,” Nikolenko tweeted. “With his hands stained in blood, he must not be allowed to sit at the table with world leaders.”
The Pentagon on Tuesday also raised “concerns” that Russia may try to get more weapons from Iran to use in its war against Ukraine.
Russia recently has targeted civilian infrastructure with Iranian-made drones, and Iranian personnel are helping the Russian military launch these drone attacks from the Crimean Peninsula, according to the United States.
“We do have concerns that Russia may also seek to acquire additional advanced munition capabilities from Iran, for example, surface-to-surface missiles, to use in Ukraine,” Ryder said.
CNN is reporting that Iran is preparing to send Russia approximately 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface, short-range ballistic missiles and more suicide drones.
VOA’s Carla Babb and Margaret Besheer contributed to this story.
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