The town of Borodianka in Kyiv Oblast was destroyed by Russian troops. April 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian War. Credit: Dattalion

The town of Borodianka in Kyiv Oblast was destroyed by Russian troops. April 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian War. Credit: Dattalion 

Opinion, Russian Aggression

Over the first five months of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Russian forces there have destroyed 17,300 civilian buildings and only about 300 military ones, a ratio of almost 60 to one, the Ukrainian government says. And that pattern, commentators say, suggests the Russians are seeking to terrorize the population even more than inflict direct military defeats.

Related: We should be asking what feature of Russian politics is not fascist – Timothy Snyder

A monument to Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) among ruins and debris in a Ukrainian town bombarded by Russian military. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

A monument to Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) among ruins and debris in a Ukrainian town bombarded by Russian military. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

These shocking figures, reported at mvs.gov.ua, are especially horrific given Moscow’s claims about targeting only military objects and using only extremely accurate weapons (googleapis.com/istories).

Related: Russian atrocities in Ukraine are genocide, Ukrainian Foreign Minister writes

That leaves only a limited number of possibilities: either Moscow is simply lying about what it is doing, has bad intelligence, lacks accurate weapons systems, or is purposefully targeting civilian homes, hospitals, and schools in an effort to spread terror and undermine the Russian war effort. Ukrainian and Russian observers argue the last is the most likely.

In any case, what Russia is doing is a war crime and in addition a crime against humanity, one more reason to support Ukraine in its efforts to defeat the Russian invasion of that country.

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