Following various bombardment campaigns by the invading Russian forces on civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Chernihiv, and other Ukrainian cities, the Russian forces have now fired mortar shells on Ukrainian evacuees running for their lives near a bridge located in Irpin, Ukraine. The Russian forces had no reason to fire on the bridge located at Irpin river as the Ukrainian forces had earlier blown it up in an effort to slow down the Russian advance. However, two artillery shells had hit a checkpoint where soldiers were helping evacuees escape the Russian onslaught.

Irpin, which is located just 16 miles northwest of Kyiv, had been the subject of Russian aggression the past few days of fighting. As a result, hundreds of people tried to flee the city to Kyiv in the hopes of finding safety. Small groups were said to be formed, with soldiers assisting the civilians with their luggage and children as they knew Russian forces were also within the immediate area.

Irpin Mayor Oleksandr Markushyn stated that a family had died in front of his eyes. It was said that this family was comprised of two young children and two adults trying to evacuate from the city. The colorful backpack of the children, along with their bodies, was photographed amidst their blood splattered on the road. Another report confirms that a woman and her two children (possibly around 8 to 15 years of age) and their friend were also hit by a mortar and later died. Three volunteers from this area were also shot and killed on March 5. Sources say that eight civilians were killed. However, this number could be higher.

“In front of my eyes, two small children and two adults died,” said the Mayor.