Advertisement

Russian soldiers opened fire at rally in Kherson to disperse crowd, Ukraine says

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Footage appears to show Russian troops opening fire on protest in Kherson' Russia-Ukraine conflict: Footage appears to show Russian troops opening fire on protest in Kherson
WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. - Footage appears to show Russian troops opening fire on protest in Kherson – Mar 21, 2022

Russian soldiers used stun grenades and gunfire to break up a protest in the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Monday, officials said.

Videos from scene show hundreds of protesters approaching a city square before being forced to run away after automatic gunfire breaks out. Loud bangs were also heard and clouds of white smoke could be seen.

Story continues below advertisement

The demonstrators were in Kherson’s Freedom square at the time of the incident, Reuters reports.

“Russian security forces ran up, started throwing stun grenades into the crowd and shooting,” the Ukrainian armed forces’ press service said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Russian forces obliterate Kyiv mall, open fire on Kherson protesters' Russian forces obliterate Kyiv mall, open fire on Kherson protesters
Russian forces obliterate Kyiv mall, open fire on Kherson protesters – Mar 21, 2022

Russia did not immediately comment on the incident. Moscow has denied targeting civilians in the conflict it started on Feb. 24, though hundreds have died in heavy shelling of Ukrainian cities.

Story continues below advertisement

In one video, which was also aired on CNN, demonstrators are seen walking and chanting towards a city square before being stopped by an explosion.

The demonstrators then begin to run away as the sound of what appears to be gunfire is heard in the square.

In security camera footage published by Reuters, the demonstrators can be seen slowly approaching the square before an explosion forces them to flee.

At least one person was wounded, Ukraine’s armed forces’ press service added. It’s unclear how they received their injuries.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Gunfire erupts during protest in Kherson against invasion' Russia-Ukraine conflict: Gunfire erupts during protest in Kherson against invasion
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Gunfire erupts during protest in Kherson against invasion – Mar 13, 2022

The city of Kherson, a regional capital of about 250,000 people, is the first big urban centre to fall into the hands of Russian troops.

Since then, groups of residents have regularly staged rallies in the city centre, protesting against the occupation and showing their support for the government in Kyiv by waving Ukrainian flags.

Story continues below advertisement

On Sunday, protesters in Kherson — some wrapped in Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag — appeared to make two Russian trucks reverse away from the area, by standing in front of it and chanting “go home.”

According to the BBC, the reversing vehicles were marked with the letter “Z,” which is a symbol of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: Ukraine officials accuse Russia of shelling homes in Odesa

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian authorities said members of Russia’s National Guard had detained more than 400 people in Kherson region for protesting against the occupation. It accused Russia of trying to create a police state there.

Russia’s war on Ukraine, now in its fourth week, has stalled along most fronts. Russia has failed to capture a single major Ukrainian city, seize the capital Kyiv, or swiftly topple the government of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russia calls the war, which is the biggest attack on a European state since the Second World War, a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from “Nazis.”

The West describes it as a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression to subdue a country Russian President Vladimir Putin describes as illegitimate.

Story continues below advertisement

with files from Reuters.

Sponsored content