Kyiv [Ukraine], October 1 (ANI): At least 20 civilians were killed in the Russian shelling of a civilian convoy carrying people fleeing in the "grey zone" between Russian-controlled and Ukrainian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine in late September.
The Ukrainian official had said that Russia hit on seven vehicles between occupied Svatove in the Luhansk region and Ukrainian-held Kupiansk which Kyiv recaptured in the Kharkiv region last month, according to Al Jazeera.
This comes a day after Russia accused Ukraine of shelling a convoy of refugees, who are being evacuated from the Kharkiv region and killing approximately 30 civilians, Al Jazeera reported citing Russian state media.
The convoy of civilian vehicles had assembled on the edge of the city on Friday, preparing to leave the area. They were planning to visit relatives and deliver supplies to an area controlled by Russia when it was hit.
Meanwhile, Ukraine, on another side, blamed Russia for the same. Ukraine national police chief Igor Klymenko, on his Facebook account, said that 30 civilians were dead and 88 wounded as a result of another Russian war crime in Zaporizhzhia.
"Among the dead are two children: an 11-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy," Klymenko added.
"Unfortunately, we also have losses among the police. A 36-year-old employee ... was killed," Klymenko said as quoted by Al Jazeera.
He added that another 27 police officers were among the injured, and "four of them are in serious condition".
The attacks came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally announced the annexation of four regions - Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and claimed that "this is the will of millions of people."
As per the media reports, Putin said the residents in the four annexed regions will now be Russia's "citizens forever".
"There are four new regions of Russia," Putin said in a lengthy speech declaring the annexation of Ukrainian territories in the St George's Hall at a Kremlin ceremony. The speech was filled with highly critical rhetoric about Ukraine and its Western allies, reported Al Jazeera.
While denying seeking revival of the Soviet Union by the said annexation, Putin accused Western states - which have imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Moreover, in a strong statement, Putin also added that Russia would now defend its new territory "with all the means at its disposal."
Defending its decision to go ahead with the referendum and announce the annexation of the region, the Russian President argued it was the "integral right" of people in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join Russia, reported Al Jazeera.
Speaking further, Putin claimed that the people in eastern Ukraine made up of Donetsk and Luhansk - had been "victims of inhumane terrorist attacks conducted by the Kyiv regime".
He also called the result of the referendum "the will of millions of people."
In a major move by Russia, President Putin signed a decree recognizing the so-called "independence" of the Ukrainian regions Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. (ANI)