Ukrainians curse Russian invaders as dead civilians found in liberated cities

  • Dead civilians line the streets of the retaken city near Kyiv
  • Ukraine accuses Russian forces of laying mines
  • ICRC convoy on the way to the besieged port of Mariupol
  • Ukrainian negotiator hints at talks between Zelenskyy and Putin

BUCHA, Ukraine, April 3 (Reuters) – As Ukraine claimed its forces had retaken all areas around Kyiv, the mayor of a liberated town said 300 residents had been killed and casualties seen during a month-long occupation by the Russian army are a mass grave and still lies on the street.

Ukrainian forces have retaken more than 30 towns and villages around Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion.

In Bucha, a neighboring town of Irpen just 37 km (23 miles) northwest of the capital, Reuters journalists saw bodies lying in the streets and the hands and feet of several bodies sticking out of a still-open grave in a church compound. Continue reading

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

After five weeks of fighting, Russia has withdrawn forces threatening Kyiv from the north to regroup for fighting in eastern Ukraine.

“The entire Kyiv region is liberated from the invaders,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar wrote on Facebook. There was no Russian comment on the claim, which Reuters was unable to immediately verify.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in a video address: “They are mining this whole territory. Houses are mined, equipment is mined, even the corpses of dead people.” He gave no evidence. Continue reading

Ukraine’s emergency services said a search of the village of Dmytrivka, west of the capital, found over 1,500 explosives in one day.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the mining allegations. Reuters could not independently verify them.

Russia denies attacks on civilians and rejects war crimes allegations.

But in Bucha, Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said more than 300 residents had been killed. Many residents tearfully recalled fatal blows and cursed the deceased Russians.

“The bastards!” Vasily, said a grizzled 66-year-old man, crying with anger when he saw more than a dozen bodies lying on the street in front of his house. “Sorry. The tank behind me fired. Dogs!”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was appalled by the atrocities in Bucha and called for the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes.

PUTIN-ZELENSKY TALKS?

Since launching what President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” to demilitarize Ukraine on February 24, Russia has failed to capture a single major city, instead laying siege to urban areas and uprooting a quarter of the country’s population .

Russia has presented its withdrawal of forces near Kyiv as a goodwill gesture in peace talks. Ukraine and its allies say Russia has been forced to shift its focus to eastern Ukraine after suffering heavy casualties.

Talks, held this week in Istanbul and via video link, were described by both sides as “difficult”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that “the most important thing is that talks continue, either in Istanbul or elsewhere.”

A new round of talks has not yet been announced. But Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said Saturday enough progress had been made to allow direct talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy.

“The Russian side has confirmed our thesis that the draft documents are sufficiently developed to allow for direct consultations between the leaders of the two countries,” Arakhamia said. Russia has not commented on the possibility.

MARIUPOL WAITS

Among those killed near Kyiv was Maksim Levin, a Ukrainian photographer and videographer who worked for a news website and was a longtime Reuters contributor. Continue reading

His body was found on April 1 in a village north of Kyiv, news website LB.ua, where he works, said on Saturday.

In the east, the Red Cross hoped a convoy to evacuate civilians would reach the besieged port of Mariupol on Sunday, after cutting off earlier attempts over security concerns. Russia blamed the ICRC for the delays. Continue reading

Mariupol is Russia’s main target in southeastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, and tens of thousands of civilians are trapped there with little access to food and water. Continue reading

Ukrainian forces reported slacking Russian air and missile attacks, although missiles hit the southern port city of Odessa in the early hours of Sunday, the city council said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its missiles crippled military airfields in Poltava in central Ukraine and Dnipro further south. It was later said his forces hit 28 Ukrainian military installations across the country, including two weapons depots.

The Ukrainian military also reported Russian airstrikes on the Luhansk cities of Severodonetsk and Rubishne, one of two southeastern regions where pro-Russian separatists declared breakaway states days before the invasion. Ukraine’s military said it repelled six enemy attacks in Luhansk and Donetsk, the other breakway regions, on Saturday.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in Mukachevo, Ukraine, offices of Alessandra Prentice and Reuters; writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Adaptation by Stephen Coates

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment