Russia intentionally targeting Ukrainian civilians just for cruelty, expert says

Fifty-two civilians — including five children — were killed in a Russian missile attack while trying to evacuate the Eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatusk Friday morning, according to Ukrainian officials.

"I think it's worth emphasizing the point that Russia has embraced – a strategy of intentionally targeting civilians," said William Muck, professor of political science at North Central College. "The cruelty is the point."

The missile strike also injured more than 300 other civilians. Muck says the reported attack is a clear violation of international law.

"I think it's going to get much uglier," he said.  "This is a strategy of the Russian government. They have decided that intentionally targeting and killing civilians is in their best strategic interest to easier to control territory."

Muck says he expects Russia to commit more "atrocity crimes" in the coming days and weeks, which will make it way more difficult for the two sides to find a diplomatic solution.

"I think they make it much more difficult to come to some kind of solution. It's clear that the intent is to control territory in Eastern Ukraine, to hunker down, to make this as difficult as possible for Ukraine. And if you are Ukraine, and you're watching your population be targeted with war crimes, genocide, how can you sit down across the table with Russia?" Muck said.


Russia is denying any involvement in the attack, blaming it on Ukrainian forces.

A Ukrainian government official said this is Russia's attempt to scare civilians so badly, they won't even attempt to flee the country.