“This is pure genocide,” local resident Tatiana Chernyshova said while going to lay flowers at the site. “Such things cannot happen in the 21st century. We need to engage everyone to help stop the war, help us fight these scum — these Russian aggressors,” Chernyshova said.

Russian forces battled Wednesday to surround the Ukrainian military’s last stronghold in a long-contested eastern province, as shock reverberated from a Russian airstrike on a shopping mall that killed at least 18 in the center of the country two days earlier, AP reports.

Moscow’s battle to wrest the entire Donbas region from Ukraine saw Russian forces pushing toward two Luhansk province villages south of the city of Lysychansk while Ukrainian troops fought to prevent their encirclement.

Britain’s defense ministry said Russian forces were making “incremental advances” in their offensive to capture the city. Lysychansk is the last major area of the province under Ukrainian control following the retreat of Ukraine’s forces from the neighboring city of Sievierodonetsk.

Russian troops and their separatist allies control 95% of Luhansk and about half of the Donetsk region, the other province that makes up the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas.

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