Russia has given the gloomiest assessment of the invasion of Ukraine, describing the “tragedy” of increased military losses and the economic blow from sanctions, as Ukrainians were evacuated from eastern cities before the expected major offensive.
The comments came at a time when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had predicted more atrocities, saying the situation in Borodyanka was “much more catastrophic” than in Bucha.
As a result of Moscow’s six-week invasion, more than 4 million people fled abroad, thousands were killed or wounded, cities fell into ruin and led to widespread sanctions against Russian leaders and companies.
In a symbolic move, the United Nations General Assembly removed Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, expressing “serious concern over the protracted human rights crisis and the humanitarian crisis.” Then Russia withdrew from the Rada.
Moscow had previously acknowledged that its attack had not progressed as quickly as expected, but on Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed regret over the death toll. “We have significant troop losses,” he told Sky News. “It’s a great tragedy for us.”
Russia is in the most difficult economic situation in three decades due to unprecedented Western sanctions, said its Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The US Congress has stripped Russia of its “most favorable nation” trade status with another blow.
Kyiv has called for heavier weapons from its Western allies and “destructive” sanctions against Moscow, saying the scale of any Russian attack on eastern Ukraine would remind NATO members of World War II..
“Either you help us now – and I’m talking about days, not weeks – or your help will come too late and many people will die,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba at a meeting with his alliance colleagues in Brussels. on Thursday.
Kuleba said he expects NATO members to send Kiev the necessary weapons, including air defense systems, artillery, armored vehicles and aircraft, but insisted they should act quickly until Moscow redirects its offensive to the Donbass region.
“I believe that the deal offered by Ukraine is fair. You give us weapons; we are sacrificing our lives, and the war is going on in Ukraine. That’s it. “
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had agreed to increase support for Ukraine, provide a “wide range” of weapons systems, and provide cybersecurity assistance and equipment to protect against chemical and biological threats..
As peace talks between Russia and Ukraine continue in a video, Turkey, which hosted two meetings between the parties, said images of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Bucha and cities near Kyiv had “obscured” the talks and ruined them. “Emerging murders” positive atmosphere “.
Photos and videos of civilians killed, some with their hands tied, in the streets of Bucha after it was recaptured from Russian invaders have sparked international outrage and revived Ukraine’s calls for more weapons and tougher sanctions.
On Thursday, Zelensky said the situation in Borodyanka was “much worse” than in Bucha. “The work on clearing the blockages in Borodyanka has started much worse. Even more victims from the Russian occupiers, ”he said in a video posted on the Telegram messaging service. The city is located about 15 miles (24 km) from Bucha.
The video from Borodyanka shows search and rescue teams using heavy equipment to dig up the rubble of the collapsed building. Hundreds of people were afraid to bury.
Zelensky also warned that Russia was preparing “propaganda scenarios” according to which Russian troops would look as if Ukrainian soldiers were to blame for the deaths of civilians in Mariupol.
Pro-Russian authorities in Mariupol said on Thursday that 5,000 people had been killed in a besieged city in the south of the country. “About 60-70% of the housing stock is destroyed or partially destroyed,” said Konstantin Ivashchenko, who, according to separatists among separatists in the Donetsk region, is now the mayor of Mariupol.
Ukrainian authorities have expressed a “conservative” estimate of 5,000 dead in the city, which they say is 90% destroyed, while showing that there may be “tens of thousands of civilian casualties.”
In other events:
Boris Johnson intends to receive German Chancellor on Friday when they will discuss how to help Europe wean itself off Russian gas. The Prime Minister will hold talks with Olaf Scholz on Downing Street, and a press conference is scheduled for the afternoon, PA Media reports.
Radio broadcasts in which Russian soldiers appear to be talking about the premeditated killings of civilians in Ukraine have been intercepted by Germany’s foreign intelligence service, a source close to the report said.
The World Health Organization on Thursday said it had confirmed more than 100 attacks on health services in Ukraine, and called for humanitarian access to the besieged city of Mariupol.
Australia sends to Ukraine its first convoy of 20 converted Bushmaster armored vehicles on C-17 Globemaster aircraft. They leave Brisbane on Friday.
The Lithuanian ambassador to Ukraine returned to Kyiv on Thursday after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian capital, becoming one of the few diplomats to return to the city. “Political and moral support is very important for Ukrainians,” Valdemaras Sarapinas said.
Fox News journalist Benjamin Hall, who was injured in an attack in Kiev, posted on Twitter about his injuries, saying he lost half one leg and foot. He paid tribute to his colleagues killed in the attack, producer Alexander Kuvshinova and cameraman Pierre Zakzhevsky.
Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” on February 24 to demilitarize and “denationalize” Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies reject this as a false excuse.
EU ambassadors agreed on a fifth package of sanctions against Russia with a coal embargo containing a 120-day period to give member states time to find alternative suppliers, following pressure from Germany to postpone the measure.
Ukraine has accused Hungary of undermining EU unity after Budapest said it was ready to pay rubles for Russian gas, a Kremlin demand opposed by a majority in the West.
On the battlefield, Ukraine says, after leaving the outskirts of Kiev, Russia is regrouping to try to gain full control over the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which since 2014 have been partially held by Russian-backed separatists.
Also targeted is the besieged southern port of Mariupol, where more than 100,000 people are believed to be trapped.
Both sides continue to trade charges, and Moscow has opened a criminal investigation into allegations by a Russian soldier that he was beaten and threatened with death while in Ukraine as a prisoner of war.
Separately, a video on social networks, checked by Reuters and located in the area west of Kiev, shows that Ukrainian forces shoot and kill a captured and seriously wounded Russian soldier.