ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine — Russian forces are killing civilians and looting stores and homes across occupied parts of southern Ukraine, residents said, as Moscow arrested elected local leaders and sought to replace them with pro-Russian collaborators.
People arriving here from Russian-held areas over the weekend described hungry and undisciplined Russian troops shooting unarmed villagers, breaking into supermarkets and shops, and raiding homes in search of food and valuables as their own supply lines have failed.
“They just brazenly come in, without any shame, and take whatever they want,” said Valentyna Khodus, 64, who came to Zaporizhzhia from the small village of Myrne after days hiding in the cellar with her daughter and grandson as Russian troops went door to door ransacking houses.
Two neighbors who were driving a car with a Ukrainian flag were shot and killed by a Russian patrol last week, she said. “It’s still there, on the roadside, and their bodies are still inside,” Khodus said.
Russia says it isn’t planning an occupation of Ukraine and that its forces are liberating Ukrainians. It says it has only hit military targets and that any civilian casualties are the fault of what it calls Ukrainian nationalists and extremists.
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