Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2022. 4:11 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The recent destruction of a humanitarian kitchen in eastern Ukraine by a Russian missile attack has emphasized that civilians are not safe as President Vladimir Putin continues his campaign, which is now approaching two months.
On Saturday, April 17 a missile hit the city of Kharkiv hitting a restaurant operating as a relief kitchen with support from the World Central Kitchen (WCK). The organization, founded by chef and humanitarian José Andrés, has been out since the Russian invasion, offering free food to those displaced or otherwise affected by the conflict.
Four staff members of the ghost kitchen staff were hospitalized following the attack, suffering from burns ranging from moderate to severe, the Washinton Post reports.
Nate Mook, chief executive of World Central Kitchen, has been giving updates from Ukraine via his Twitter account in the aftermath of the attack, explaining the severity of the impact the situation has had on civilians.
“In this area, there are offices. There are residences. People live here. People work here, and people cook here. And that’s it,” adds Mook, his outrage palpable. “I don’t really know what else to say. Just absolutely horrific brutality.”
Ukrainian civilians that did not flee after the February 24 invasion have been in increasing danger and Russian missiles and bombs barrage the country indiscriminately.
Earlier in April, the United States Embassies in Belize and Guatemala arranged a gathering of journalists from across Central America to discuss updates in Ukraine. At that time, six weeks into the invasion, US Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp noted that Putin was being accused of war crimes, having systematically attacked civilian areas in Ukraine. The Ambassador stressed that the war had far-reaching effects that every citizen living in a democratic society ought to be aware of.
“Vladimir Putin’s war of choice calls into question the security and prosperity of not only in Ukraine but all countries around the world. And it questions the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states human rights, energy and food security, and the existence of a rules-based international order,” Ambassador Popp Said.
Journalists were also given an opportunity to speak with Volodymyr Dubovyk, associate professor in the Department of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Studies at the University Odessa National I.I. Ukrainian Mechnikovs, who remains in Ukraine and gave his personal and professional perspectives on the war.
Professor Dubovyk questioned the effectiveness of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which Putin himself would later describe as “dead,” following the discovery of mass graves in Ukraine containing the bodies of hundreds of dead civilians. He also noted that while Russia has been bombing targets such as oil refineries and railways a number of schools, including 12 schools in his own home town have been bombed during Russia’s campaign.
“These were deliberate attacks. Someone might say that ‘They were targeting Ukrainian military and then there were some stray shells,’ but no, these were deliberate.” Professor Dubovyk said. “Twelve schools were targeted, 11 kindergartens, two hospitals, and many other targets. Can that be an accident? In one day you would target so many civilian targets?”
He went on to say that the systematic targeting of civilians also included the murder of men and boys, along with the rape and murder of women and even girls ages 10 years and under.
The situation is ever-changing, with Western allies preparing to send even more military support to Ukraine as attacks in the eastern part of the country continue to increase. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has since described the situation in Mariupol as “extremely severe,” NBC News Reports.
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