BUCHA, Ukraine, April 3 – While Ukraine claimed to have retaken all territories around Kyiv, the mayor of a liberated town alleged 300 people had been slain by the Russian army during a month-long occupation, with victims spotted in a mass grave and still laying on the streets.
Ukraine’s military have retaken more than 30 towns and villages around Kyiv, according to Ukrainian officials, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since Russia’s invasion began.
Reuters journalists spotted bodies laying in the streets and the hands and feet of many victims poking out of a still open grave at a church yard in Bucha, a village neighbouring Irpen, just 37 kilometres (23 miles) northwest of the city.
Russia has withdrawn forces that had threatened Kyiv from the north after five weeks of conflict in order to regroup for battles in eastern Ukraine.
On Facebook, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar posted, “The entire Kyiv region has been liberated from the invader.” There was no immediate response from Russia to the report, which could not independently verify.
In a video message, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned: “All of this land is being mined. Houses, equipment, and even the bodies of dead people are mined.” He didn’t provide any evidence.
During a search of the town of Dmytrivka, west of Kiev, over 1,500 explosives were discovered in one day, according to Ukraine’s emergency service.
A request for response from Russia’s defence ministry was not returned mining allegations. Reuters could not independently verify them.
Russia denies targeting people and disputes claims of war crimes.
Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk of Bucha, on the other hand, said that more than 300 people had been killed. Many villagers wept as they remembered close calls with death and resented the Russians who had left.
“The scumbags!” Vasily, a grizzled 66-year-old man, wept with hatred as he stood outside his house, staring at more than a dozen dead laying on the road. “Sorry for the inconvenience. The tank in front of me was firing. Dogs!”
Atrocities in Bucha horrified British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who expressed support for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into possible war crimes.
Russia has failed to capture a single Ukrainian soldier since the start of what President Vladimir Putin dubbed a “special military operation” to demilitarise Ukraine on February 24 major city and has instead laid siege to urban areas, uprooting a quarter of the country’s population.
Russia has portrayed its troop reductions near Kyiv as a goodwill gesture in peace negotiations. After suffering massive losses, Ukraine and its allies claim that Russia was compelled to turn its focus to east Ukraine.
Both sides called this week’s talks in Istanbul and via video link “difficult.” “The essential thing is that the discussions continue, whether in Istanbul or somewhere else,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday.
A new round of negotiations has yet to be announced. On Saturday, however, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia stated that sufficient progress had been made to allow direct negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskiy.
“The Russian side affirmed our assertion that the draught texts are sufficiently developed to allow direct consultations between the parties.” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskiy.
“The Russian side corroborated our premise,” Arakhamia added, “that the draught texts have been sufficiently developed to allow direct talks between the two nations’ presidents.” Russia has been silent on the subject.
MARIUPOL IS EXPECTED
Maksim Levin, a Ukrainian photojournalist and cameraman who worked for a news website and was a long-time contributor to Reuters, was among those slain near Kyiv.
On April 1, his death was discovered in a town north of Kyiv, according to the news website LB.ua, where he worked.
In the east, the Red Cross hoped that a convoy carrying civilians would arrive in the besieged port of Mariupol on Sunday, after earlier attempts had been cancelled owing to security concerns. Russia blamed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the delays.
In Ukraine’s southeastern area of Donbas, Mariupol is Russia’s major target, and tens of thousands of civilians are besieged there with limited access to food and water. find out more
Russian air and missile raids against Ukraine’s military forces have decreased, while missiles attacked the southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Sunday, according to the municipal council.
Russian missiles crippled military airfields in Poltava, Ukraine, and Dnipro, Ukraine, according to Russia’s defence ministry. Later, it claimed that its fighters had struck 28 Ukrainian military targets across the nation, including two munitions depots.
Russian air strikes on the cities of Severodonetsk and Rubizhne in Luhansk, one of two southeastern districts where pro-Russian separatists declared breakaway nations days before, were also confirmed by the Ukrainian military the invasion. The Ukrainian military said it had repulsed six enemy attacks in Luhansk and Donetsk, the other breakway region, on Saturday.