Russia Ukraine War: What You Need To Know On Day 39 Of The Russian Invasion.. Russian retreat from Kyiv region reveals evidence of execution of civilians and mass graves; Kremlin has ‘accepted’ Ukraine’s position on all issues bar Crimea
- Ukrainian troops have retaken the entire Kyiv region, but they have discovered widespread evidence of what the Kyiv government says are war crimes committed by Russian forces. This includes bodies found in the streets, evidence of killings of civilians, mass graves and murdered children.
- One woman interviewed by the Guardian, Halyna Tovkach, says her husband was killed by Russians along with two children and their mother while they were trying to flee the fighting in Bucha. Also allegedly among the civilians killed by the Russians was Olha Sukhenko,the head of the village Motyzhin east of Kyiv, and her entire family.
- Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a number of other authorities have accused Russian troops of leaving behind mines and other explosives in their retreat of the Kyiv region. In Irpin, crews have found 643 explosive objects.
- Russia has specifically been accused by Ukraine’s attorney general of using children as “human shields” while regrouping its forces, as the first witness accounts from the newly liberated town of Bucha, north-west of Kyiv, emerge. Coaches of children were said to have been placed in front of tanks in the village of Novyi Bykiv, close to the encircled city of Chernihiv, 100 miles north of Kyiv.
- Zelenskiy repeated his warning that Russian troops want to capture the Donbas and the south of Ukraine. In his nightly video address, the Ukraine president said “we are aware that the enemy has reserves to increase pressure in the east” but complained that western allies had not sent enough anti-missile systems.
- A series of explosions were heard and smoke was seen in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa in the early hours of Sunday, witnesses said.
- Ukraine’s peace negotiator reportedly said that Russia ‘“verbally” accepts the Ukrainian position on peace talks, AFP reported, except for the issue of Crimea. Moscow had also agreed that a referendum on the neutral status of Ukraine “will be the only way out of this situation.”
- Turkey is the likeliest venue for peace talks between Zelenskiy and Vladimir Putin, Interfax Ukraine has reported.
- A Red Cross convoy heading to Mariupol will try again to evacuate civilians from the besieged port as Russian forces appeared to be regrouping for new attacks in the south-east. A spokesperson for the Red Cross said: “Our team is on the move this morning from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol. I’m not able to give further information at this stage.”
- Maksim Levin, a Ukrainian photographer, was also found dead near Kyiv. The defence ministry said Levin, whose work appeared in reports from the BBC and Reuters, had been shot twice by Russian soldiers.
- The UK said authorities were working to collect evidence of Russian war crimes. Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary, tweeted that she was looking at new information coming out of the Kyiv region.
- The Baltic states have halted all Russian oil imports, and are encouraging the rest of the European Union to follow suit.
- UK military intelligence says Russia has still not been able to destroy Ukraine’s air force and air defences. This failure has “seriously hampered their efforts to gain broad control of the air, which in turn has significantly affected their ability to support the advance of their ground forces on a number of fronts”.
- Pope Francis has come the closest he has yet to implicitly criticising Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, by saying a “potentate” was fomenting conflicts for nationalist interests.