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Dead bodies in the liberated region of kyiv, explosions in Odessa

Dead bodies in the liberated region of kyiv, explosions in Odessa
Written by on100dayloans

A senior UN official will try in Moscow on Sunday to secure a ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ in Ukraine. Possible abuses on civilians have been reported in the kyiv region, recaptured from the Russians, and explosions have been heard in the port of Odessa.

Russian forces are withdrawing from key towns near the capital and Cherniguiv in northern Ukraine. Instead, they are redeploying to the east and south in a bid to ‘maintain control’ of the territories they already occupy there, Ukraine has confirmed.

More than a month after the launch of the Russian invasion, the localities of ‘Irpin, Boutcha, Gostomel and the entire kyiv region have been liberated from the invader’, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister said on Saturday , Ganna Maliar.

But the Russians, by withdrawing ‘on their own’ or after fighting, leave behind ‘a total disaster and many dangers’, denounced the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Facebook. ‘The bombardments can continue’, he warned, also accusing the Russian military of ‘undermining the territories they are leaving, houses, ammunition and even corpses’.

‘Hands Tied’

In Boutcha, a town near kyiv, the bodies of about twenty men, one of whom has a large head wound, lie in a street, scattered over several hundred meters, noted a journalist from the AFP.

“All these people were shot, killed with a bullet in the back of the head,” assured AFP Anatoly Fedorouk, the mayor of this city that the Ukrainian soldiers took over from the Russians. Nearly 300 people were buried there ‘in mass graves’.

‘In some streets, we see 15 to 20 corpses on the ground’ but ‘I cannot say how many there are still in the courtyards, behind the palisades’, continued the mayor. Several people found dead have their hands tied with a strip of white cloth, used to show that they had no weapons, Mr. Fedorouk said again.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Twitter that she was “horrified by the atrocities in Boutcha and other towns”. Butcha and the nearby town of Irpin, rendered unrecognizable by shelling, have been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, when Russian soldiers were trying to surround kyiv.

Also near the capital, the body of a veteran Ukrainian photographer, Maks Levine, was found shot dead after the withdrawal of Russian troops, Ukrainian authorities announced on Saturday. For the Ukrainian prosecution, he was the victim of shots by Russian soldiers.

Russian ‘oral’ agreement

While the war has caused at least thousands of deaths and forced into exile more than 4.1 million Ukrainians, a UN leader is going to Moscow on Sunday to try to obtain a ‘cease -humanitarian fire’. Until now, Russia has refused any visit by a senior UN official whose main subject is Ukraine.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Briton Martin Griffiths, “will be in Moscow on Sunday and after that he will go to kyiv,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced on Friday. He recalled that he had given him the mission of ‘seeking a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine’.

At the same time, the chief Ukrainian negotiator in the peace talks with Russia, David Arakhamia, affirmed on Saturday that Moscow had accepted “orally” the main Ukrainian proposals, with the exception of those concerning Crimea. And to add that kyiv was waiting for a written confirmation.

Speaking on a TV broadcast, he hinted that talks aimed at ending hostilities had made significant progress. On Friday, Russia, accusing Ukraine of having carried out a helicopter strike on its soil, had nevertheless raised the threat of tougher negotiations.

Efforts by Russian troops to consolidate their positions in southern and eastern Ukraine have so far met with Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, where some 160,000 people are believed to still be stranded and at least 5,000 of whom have were killed, according to local authorities. For Moscow, controlling Mariupol would ensure territorial continuity from Crimea to the two pro-Russian separatist republics of Donbass, Donetsk and Lugansk.

‘Odessa attacked from the air’

Unable for weeks, evacuations began on a small scale. On Saturday, some ‘1,263 people’ traveled from Mariupol and Berdyansk to Zaporozhye by their own means, and a dozen buses in a convoy left Berdiansk, with 300 Mariupol residents on board, the Deputy Prime Minister announced in the evening. Iryna Vereshchuk on Telegram. Other evacuations took place in the east of the country.

In Odessa, Ukraine’s main port, which provides access to the Black Sea in the southwest, a series of explosions were heard on Sunday morning, causing at least three columns of black smoke and visible flames, apparently in an area industry, noted AFP. A downtown hotel worker said she heard a plane, but a soldier near the scene of one of the strikes said it was a rocket or missile.

‘Odessa was attacked from the air. Fires have been reported in some areas. Part of the missiles were shot down by air defense. It is recommended to close the windows,” Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, wrote on his Telegram account.

Russian forces also continue to ‘partially blockade the city of Kharkiv’, Ukraine’s second largest city, located in the east. Industrial and residential areas there are the target of artillery fire, according to the staff of the Ukrainian army, which however notes a decrease in their intensity.

Russia also plans ‘to create battalions made up of ‘volunteer’ residents of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and mercenaries’, notes the same source.

End of Russian gas in the Baltics

Additional pressure on Moscow, the Baltic states have stopped importing Russian natural gas which “has not been sent to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania since April 1”, the company’s leader said on Saturday. Latvian storage Conexus Baltic Grid. The Baltic countries are now served by gas reserves stored underground in Latvia.

“From this month, no more Russian gas in Lithuania,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeted, calling on the rest of the European Union to follow the Baltic example. According to Eurostat, in 2020 Russia accounted for 93% of Estonian natural gas imports, 100% of Latvian imports and 41.8% of Lithuanian imports.

The United States banned the import of Russian oil and gas after the invasion of Ukraine, but not the EU, which was sourcing around 40% from Russia in 2021.

/ TTY

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