A Ukrainian member of parliament claimed that Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilians with high-powered vacuum bombs, in an interview with Al Arabiya on Monday.
Vacuum bombs were dropped on the eastern city of Okhtyrka, said Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who was previously head of Ukraine’s security service.
The controversial munitions deploy two explosions – one that disperses flammable material and another that lights it.
They can be much more destructive than conventional bombs of the same size.
“It’s true that Russia is carefully and intentionally selecting civilians and killing them, Ukrainians, by launching rockets on civilian cities,” he said.
As the war raged on nearly a week after Russian forces invaded on February 24, Nalyvaichenko painted a grim picture of the future of his country and the wider continent.
“We either stop this invasion and these criminals, war criminals, and war in Ukraine, or they'll continue to exterminate us, and then they will not stop their move towards Europe…” he said.
“We have no other choice [but] to protect our people, our country, and to fight till the last the last minute, until the last meter of our own soil.”
Nalyvaichenko cut the interview short after air raid sirens started blaring, saying that he was heading to a shelter.
At least 132 civilians in Ukraine, including 13 children, have died since the beginning of the invasion, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday.
Russia was amassing troops near the Ukrainian capital Kiev after six days of shelling numerous cities.
While Russian forces, which outnumber Ukraine’s by roughly five-to-one, failed to take control of large areas of land, heavy shelling of urban areas continued.
The southern city of Kherson fell to Russian forces on Wednesday, according to a Russian army spokesperson.
Nearly 836,000 refugees have fled the conflict for safety in neighboring countries, United Nations figures showed on Wednesday.
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