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Russian Forces Are Holding Up to 40 Civilians Hostage in Vovchansk

Ukrainian authorities report that Russian forces are holding up to 40 civilians hostage in Vovchansk, Kharkiv region, where active combat is taking place.

Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the investigative department of the Kharkiv region police, stated that the civilians are being held in a basement and used as human shields by Russian troops who have established a nearby command post.

“We know these people are being interrogated by individuals claiming to be FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] employees,” Bolvinov said. “The captives seem to be mostly elderly residents who stayed behind until recently, likely unwilling to leave their homes. However, due to heavy shelling, they decided to evacuate and were unfortunately captured by the Russians.”

It’s been previously reported that Russian forces have been abducting and executing civilians in Vovchansk. On May 16, Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko stated that Russian military personnel are taking civilians captive, attempting to gain a foothold in the city and have prevented evacuations by abducting residents and forcing them into basements.

On May 15, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported Russian troop entry into Vovchansk from the north.

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