A Vatican envoy and his aides narrowly escaped injury after reportedly coming under fire while on a humanitarian mission in Ukraine — evidence British officials allege shows Russia is ready to expand attacks on innocent civilians.
Vatican Almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski said he “didn’t know where to run” during the frightening incident near the city of Zaporizhzhia Saturday, Vatican New reported. No injuries were reported.
“For the first time in my life, I didn’t know where to run. Because it is not enough to run, you have to know where to go,” the Polish-born cardinal told the Vatican news service.
Krajewski is in Ukraine for the fourth time since Russian forces began their Ukraine invasion in February. He was with two bishops — one Catholic, one Protestant — and a Ukrainian soldier to deliver aid and rosaries, the news service said.
Russian blasts hit across a wide portion of Ukraine overnight, officials said Sunday, with the British defense ministry issuing a grave warning about Moscow’s eye on civilian targets recently.
“In the last seven days, Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate military effect,” the ministry said in an online briefing.
“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government.”
Five civilians were killed in the eastern Donetsk region over the weekend by Russian attacks; west of that, in Nikopol, several dozen residential buildings, gas pipelines and power lines were struck, according to regional governors. Three people were also wounded in nighttime shelling, said regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko.
Russian bombings also killed four medics and injured two patients during the evacuation of a psychiatric hospital in the Kharkiv region in the city of Strelecha, said governor Oleh Syniehubov.
A hospital in the city of Mykolaiv was also hit by Russian shelling overnight, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said, with two people wounded in other parts of the region that came under fire.
Separatist forces in Donetsk accused Ukraine of killing one prisoner and injuring four after Kyiv-backed forces hit a prisoner-of-war colony.
The latest casualties come as sickening photos came to light Sunday that showed alleged “torture chambers” used by Russian forces against Ukrainians. The head of the European Union has called for an investigation into possible war crimes by the Kremlin.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Saturday that “more than 10 torture chambers have already been found in the liberated areas of Kharkiv region, in various cities and towns.”