'It's a genocide of our people': Terrified Ukrainians flee as Putin poised to annex region

Ukrainians have also described people being forced at gunpoint to mark ballots in the street by roving officials. Russian-installed officials have also taken ballot boxes from house to house with armed men in tow.

Meanwhile, at least 23 people were killed and 28 wounded in a Russian missile strike which hit a convoy of civilian vehicles on the outskirts of the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, according to the regional governor.

Oleksandr Starukh, the Zaporizhzhia regional governor, wrote on the Telegram messaging app: “So far, 23 dead and 28 wounded. All civilians.”

Police and emergency workers rushed to the scene of the missile strike, the impact of which threw chunks of dirt into the air and sprayed vehicles with shrapnel. The windows of the vehicles – mostly cars and three vans – were blown out.


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