Ukrainian troops are finding brutal bodies and widespread destruction on the outskirts of the capital as Russian troops withdraw and Moscow is focusing its attacks elsewhere, including Sunday’s rocket attacks targeting fuel supplies and ammunition.
Associated Press reporters in Bukha, a small town northwest of Kiev, saw the bodies of at least nine plainclothes men who appeared to have been killed up close. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. The AP also saw two corpses wrapped in plastic, tied with tape and thrown into a ditch.
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Authorities say they are documenting evidence that Ukraine’s military is reclaiming territory and uncovering evidence of extrajudicial killings to add to its prosecution of Russian war crimes officials.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said dozens of civilians had been killed in the streets of Bucha and suburbs of Irpin and Hostomel in what looked like a “horror movie scene”.
Arestovic said some people were shot in the head with their hands tied and some bodies showed signs of torture, rape and burning.
The mayor of the capital, Vitali Klitschko, said the citizens were “shot in the arm” and told the German newspaper Bild that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kiev can only be described as genocide.”
A day earlier, AP reporters had seen Ukrainian soldiers removing at least six corpses from a street in Bucha by cable in case the Russians had trapped corpses with explosives before withdrawing. Locals said the dead were civilians killed without provocation, a claim that could not be verified by independents.
Klitschko called on other nations to immediately end their imports of Russian gas, saying they were financing the invasion of Ukraine, now in its 39th day.
“Not a penny should go to Russia anymore. This is bloody money used to slaughter people. “The gas and oil embargo must come immediately,” said the mayor.
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Charles Michel, President of the European Council, wrote on Twitter that he was shocked by the “rudimentary images of atrocities committed by the Russian army” in the capital. The EU and non-governmental organizations have helped to preserve evidence of war crimes, according to Michel, who has promised “further EU sanctions” against Russia.
On Sunday morning, Russian forces launched an air raid on the Black Sea port of Odessa in southern Ukraine, sending clouds of dark smoke covering parts of the city. The Russian military said the targets were an oil refinery and fuel depots around Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port and naval base.
“I live in this eight-story building. “At six in the morning, Russia launched an attack and this piece of rock reached my house,” said Maiesienko Ilia, who lives near one of the targeted facilities.
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Odessa city council said Ukrainian air defenses shot down some missiles before hitting the city. Ukrainian army spokesman Vladyslav Nazarov said there were no casualties in the attack.
The smaller port of Mariupol, located east of the Sea of Azov, was cut off from the rest of the country as Russian and Ukrainian soldiers fought for control of the besieged city. About 100,000 civilians – less than a quarter of the 430,000 pre-war population – are believed to be trapped there with little or no food, water, fuel and medicine.
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it hoped a team of nine officers and three vehicles sent on Saturday to help evacuate residents reached Mariupol on Sunday, but warned: “The situation on the ground is unstable and subject to rapid change. ».
Ukrainian authorities said Russia had agreed a few days ago to allow safe passage through the city, which has been the site of some of the worst attacks and worst, but similar agreements have repeatedly collapsed under constant bombardment.
Mariupol is located in the predominantly Russian-speaking area of Donbass, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian troops for eight years. His arrest would create an unbroken land corridor from Russia to Crimea, which Moscow occupied from Ukraine in 2014.
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With Mariupol being targeted by Russia, Ukraine has insisted it has gained a foothold in other parts of the country. As his country’s troops recaptured territory north of the capital Kiev from outgoing Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on all Ukrainians to do what they could “to thwart the enemy’s tactics and weaken its capabilities.”
“Peace will not be the result of any decisions taken by the enemy somewhere in Moscow. There is no reason to hold out empty hopes that they will simply leave our land. “We can only have peace by fighting,” Zelenski said late Saturday.
Zelensky and Ukraine’s western allies believe that Russia has moved its forces from the capital and the north of the country to build forces in the east and south. The Ukrainian leader again urged the West to supply its army with warplanes and more anti-missile systems.
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“Every Russian missile that hits our cities and every bomb that falls on our people, our children, adds only black paint to history that will describe everyone on whom the decision depended – the decision to help Ukraine with modern weapons.” said Zelenskyy. he said.
As the geography of the battlefield changed, little changed for many Ukrainians for more than five weeks in a war that has driven more than 4 million people to flee the country as refugees and displaced millions more from their homes.
The regional governor in Kharkov said on Sunday that Russian artillery and tanks had carried out more than 20 strikes in Ukraine’s second largest city and its northeastern suburbs in the past day. Governor Oleh Synyehubov said a rocket attack in the town of Lozovo had injured four people and that Russian tanks had bombed a hospital in the town of Balakliia.
Zelensky claimed on Saturday that Russian troops had left mines around houses, abandoned equipment and even the bodies of the dead as they withdrew from Kyiv. These allegations could not be independently verified, but the Ukrainian troops heeded the warning.
In cities and towns around Kyiv, signs of fierce fighting were everywhere after the Russian rearrangement. Damaged armored vehicles from both armies were found on roads and fields along with scattered military equipment.
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Ukrainian troops were at the entrance to Antonov Airport in the suburb of Hostomel, demonstrating control of the runway that Russia tried to invade in the early days of the war.
Inside the complex, the Mriya, one of the largest aircraft ever built, was damaged under a hangar with holes from the February attack.
The head of the Ukrainian delegation to the talks with Russia said that the Moscow negotiators had informally agreed to most of the draft proposal that was discussed in face-to-face talks in Istanbul this week, but no written confirmation has been given.
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Ukrainian negotiator David Arahamia told Ukrainian television that he hoped it was developed enough for the two countries’ presidents to meet to discuss it. However, the top Russian negotiator in talks with Ukraine, Vladimir Medinsky, reportedly told Interfax that it was too early to talk about a meeting between the two leaders.
Ukrainian authorities have warned that Russia’s focus on eastern Ukraine does not mean that Kyiv and other cities will not be targeted again. In his speech Saturday afternoon, Zelensky called on his people to do all they can to ensure the country’s survival, even doing things as simple as showing kindness to one another.
“When a nation defends itself in a war of annihilation, when it comes to the life or death of millions, there are no trivial things. “And everyone can contribute to a victory for all,” said the president.
Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Andrea Rosa in Irpin, Ukraine, and Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.
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