Ukraine “regains the entire Kiev region” when Russia looks east News of the Russian-Ukrainian war

Ukraine’s defense ministry says its troops have seized the Kiev region from Russian troops, as officials have warned that retreating soldiers are creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians by dropping mines.

Saturday’s announcement was the first time Ukraine has claimed control of the capital region since Russia’s invasion on February 24.

“The entire Kiev region is free from invaders,” – wrote in “Facebook” Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Painter.

There were no Russian comments on this issue.

In total, Ukrainian troops have regained more than 30 towns and villages around Kiev, according to officials. The recaptured cities suffered the scars of five weeks of fighting, with destroyed armored vehicles, military equipment and dozens of bodies scattered through the streets.

In the city of Bucha, a city northwest of the capital, Ukrainian soldiers used cables to pull the bodies of civilians from the streets, fearing that Russian forces might leave them trapped.

Bucha Mayor Anatol Fedaruk said authorities had buried 280 people in a mass grave, including women and a 14-year-old boy.

“All these people were shot and killed in the back of the head,” Fedaruk said.

A man stands next to a civilian car destroyed during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, which still contains the driver’s body, in a city near Kiev [Vadim Ghirda/ AP]

On a street in Bucha, AFP reported seeing at least 20 corpses, including one with its hands tied.

Next to him on the ground lay an open Ukrainian passport, and the other two had white cloths tied in their hands.

AFP reported that all were dressed in civilian clothes – winter coats, jackets or tracksuits, jeans or jeans, as well as sneakers or boots.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass said she was shocked by the atrocities in Bucha, and expressed support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Russia denies attacks on civilians and denies allegations of war crimes.

Mines

Since deploying troops to Ukraine as part of what she calls a “special operation” to demilitarize its neighbor, Russia has failed to capture any major cities and has instead laid siege to urban areas, uprooting a quarter of Ukraine’s population.

Ukraine’s armed forces reported a reduction in Russian air and missile strikes on Saturday, but said Russian troops retreating from Kiev were deploying mines.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky warned in a video message: “They are bombing the whole territory. Homes, equipment, even the bodies of the dead are being mined. “

He did not provide evidence.

The Emergency Service of Ukraine reported that during a search in the village of Dmitrovka west of Kiev in one day was found more than 1.5 thousand explosives.

Russia’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment on the incident.

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

The shift, however, does not mean that the country has faced a postponement after more than five weeks of war or that more than 4 million refugees who have fled Ukraine will return soon.

Zelensky said he expected the cities from which Russian troops had retreated to withstand missile and missile strikes from afar and that fighting in the east would be intense.

In his night video address on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said that the country’s military did not allow the Russians to retreat without a fight: “They are shelling them. They are destroying everyone they can. “

Russia, Zelensky said, has enough strength to put more pressure on eastern and southern Ukraine.

“What is the purpose of Russian troops? They want to capture Donbass and the south of Ukraine, ”he said. “What is our goal? Defend yourself, your freedom, your land and your people. “

“Symbol of Ukrainian resistance”

Moscow’s concentration in eastern Ukraine also kept the siege of southeastern Mariupol at bay. The port city on the Sea of ​​Azov is located in the predominantly Russian-speaking region of Donbass, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian troops for eight years.

Military analysts believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is determined to seize the region after his forces failed to secure Kyiv and other major cities.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had hoped to evacuate Mariupol residents on Saturday, but has not yet reached the city. The day before, local authorities said that the Red Cross was blocked by Russian forces.

Zelensky’s adviser Alexei Arastovich said in an interview with Russian lawyer and activist Mark Feigin that Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement that “in the coming days” will allow 45 buses to go to Mariupol to evacuate residents.

Earlier on Saturday, Mariupol City Council said 10 empty buses headed to Berdyansk, a city 84 km (52.2 miles) west of Mariupol to pick up people who managed to get there on their own.

About 2,000 people left Mariupol on Friday, some by bus and some by their own car, city officials said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Verashchuk said that 765 residents of Mariupol on Saturday by private vehicle reached Zaporozhye, a city still under Ukrainian control, which served as a place for other planned evacuations.

Some civilians fleeing the besieged city said Russian soldiers searching for Ukrainian fighters repeatedly stopped them as they fled.

“Men were stripped naked, looking for tattoos,” – said 32-year-old builder Dmitry Kartav.

The capture of Mariupol will give Moscow an intact land bridge from Russia to Crimea, which it captured from Ukraine in 2014. But her resistance also took on symbolic significance during the Russian invasion, said Vladimir Fesenko, head of Ukraine’s Penta think tank.

“Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, and without his conquest Putin can not sit down at the negotiating table,” – said Fesenko.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators met this week in Istanbul, Turkey, but described the talks as “difficult”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday that “the main thing is that the talks continue either in Istanbul or elsewhere.”

A new round of talks has not been announced yet.

But Ukrainian negotiator David Arahamiya said on Saturday that enough progress had been made to allow direct talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky.

“The Russian side confirmed our thesis that the draft documents are sufficiently developed to allow direct consultations between the leaders of the two countries,” Arahamiya said.

Russia has not commented on such a possibility.

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