New strikes on civilians fueled charges that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine on Thursday, as the US threatened to hold China accountable for any assistance given to Moscow’s offensive.

The brutal count of assaults on civilian targets has grown to include a school and a cultural centre in the town of Merefa, which were hammered by midnight artillery fire, killing 21 people, officials reported.

Despite the rising bloodshed, harsh international penalties, and unexpectedly strong pushback from Ukrainians, senior US ambassador Antony Blinken said Thursday that he sees no indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is prepared to quit.”

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