Three people were killed and 10 others were wounded Sunday when Russian forces attacked a boat carrying evacuees away from flooding caused by .
The boat had been taking evacuees away from the broken dam — which Kyiv and Moscow have — and moving them to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Kherson, the region’s governor Oleksander Prokudin said on Telegram.
“Three civilians died, ten more (people) were wounded, including two law enforcement officers,” Prokudin said.
During the attack, a 74-year-old man who used his body to protect a woman from Russian fire was hit in the back and died.
Prokudin’s statement did not say exactly how Russian forces attacked the boat.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andiry Yermak said on Telegram the boat had been carrying civilians out of the flooded areas of occupied territory to Kherson.
Ever since launching its attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has denied ever targeting civilians in their forays.
Sunday’s aggression comes as both countries announced they have each returned nearly 100 soldiers that were held captive to their rightful sides.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said 94 Russians held in Ukrainian captivity had been released following negotiations and will be taken to a medical institution for examination.
Yermak said that 95 Ukrainian service members had been returned, including some who were wounded. The group that was returned included members of the national guard and border guards who had been stationed near the city of Mariupol.
The exchange comes as Ukraine’s Zelensky said Saturday that the country’s anticipated counteroffensive and defensive actions were underway.
At a news conference in Kyiv, alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Zelensky said that “counteroffensive, defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine. I will not speak about which stage or phase they are in.”
“I am in touch with our commanders of different directions every day,” he added, mentioning the names of five of Ukraine’s top military leaders. “Everyone is positive. Pass this on to Putin.”
While the president wouldn’t be specific, reports on the ground in the past few days have described three separate offensive actions in the nation’s eastern regions, near Bakhmut, and further south near the towns of Vuhledar in the Donetsk region and Tokmak in the Zaporizhzhia region.
While the counteroffensive provided some positive news for Ukraine, Russian forces continued launching missiles and drones across the country Saturday, killing three civilians in Odesa while also hitting a military airfield in Poltava.
The Ukrainian air force said the strikes included eight ground-launched missiles and 35 drone strikes, although 20 drones and two missiles were stuck down by air defense systems.
Trudeau was the first foreign leader to visit Ukraine since catastrophic floods caused by a breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam.
The Canadian leader pledged 500 million Canadian dollars ($375 million) in new military aid.
The latest gift is in addition to the over 8 billion Canadian dollars ($6 billion) already given since the start of the war.
He also announced 10 million Canadian dollars ($7.5 million) for humanitarian assistance for the flood response, calling the dam’s collapse “a direct consequence of Russia’s war.”
With Post wires.