Police: More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kyiv region of Ukraine amid Russia invasion

KIEV, Ukraine – More than 900 civilian bodies were found in the area around the Ukrainian capital after the withdrawal of Russian forces – most of them were fatally shot, police said on Friday, indicating that many people were “simply executed”.

The death toll is twice as high as the Ukrainian authorities announced almost two weeks ago.

Andriy Nebytov, head of the Kyiv regional police force, said the bodies had been abandoned on the streets or temporarily buried. He cited police figures showing that 95% had died from gunfire.

“Consequently, we understand that under (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed on the streets,” Nebitov said.

More bodies are found every day, under rubble and in mass graves, he added.

The largest number of victims was found in Bouha, where there were more than 350, he said.

According to Nebytov, employees of utilities in Bucha collected and buried corpses in the suburbs of Kiev while remaining under Russian control. The Russian troops, he added, “locate” people who expressed strong pro-Ukrainian views.

Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has vowed to step up rocket attacks on the Ukrainian capital in response to Ukraine’s alleged aggression on Russian soil, an ominous warning following the loss of Moscow’s flagship in the Black Sea.

The threat of intense attacks in Kyiv came after Russian authorities accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging about 100 residential buildings with airstrikes in Bryansk, an area bordering Ukraine. Authorities in another Russian border area also reported Ukrainian bombing on Thursday.

“The number and scale of rocket attacks on objects in Kyiv will increase in response to the nationalist regime in Kiev committing terrorist attacks or diversions on Russian territory,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Russia has issued a warning as it prepares for a new offensive in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, locals in the southeastern city of Mariupol said they saw Russian troops exhuming bodies.

In Kyiv, a new bombing could mean a return to the constant mourning of air raid sirens heard in the early days of the invasion and on terrible nights sheltered in subway stations. The rough signs of pre-war life reappeared in the capital after Russian troops failed to occupy the city and retreated to focus on eastern Ukraine, leaving behind evidence of possible war crimes.

Ukrainian officials have not confirmed targets in Russia and the reports could not be verified by an independent.

However, Ukrainian officials said their forces had hit a key Russian warship with missiles. If true, Wednesday’s attack on the Moskva guided missile launcher, so named after the Russian capital, would represent a major victory for Ukraine and a symbolic defeat for Russia.

The warship sank while being towed in port on Thursday, after suffering severe damage under conditions that remained disputed. Moscow recognized the fire on the ship but not any attack. US and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.

Moskva was capable of carrying 16 long-range cruise missiles. If Ukrainian forces removed the ship, it was probably the largest warship to sink in battle since 1982. A British submarine torpedoed an Argentine naval cruiser called the ARA General Belgrano during the Falklands War, killing over 300.

The sinking of the Russian warship reduces Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea, although military analysts disagreed on the significance of the event for the course of the war. Either way, the loss was seen as emblematic of Moscow’s fate in a seven-week invasion that was widely seen as a historic blunder after the withdrawal from the Kiev region and much of northern Ukraine.

“A ‘flagship’ of a Russian warship is a worthy diving site. We have another diving point in the Black Sea now. We will definitely visit the wreck after our victory in the war,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov wrote on Friday.

In his speech Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Ukrainians that they should be proud to have survived 50 days under Russian attack when the invaders “gave us a maximum of five.”

Russia’s warning of new airstrikes did not stop Kiev residents from taking advantage of a sunny and slightly warmer spring day as the weekend approached. More people than usual took to the streets on Fridays, walking dogs, riding electric scooters and walking hand in hand.

In a central park, a small group of people, including a woman dressed in a Ukrainian flag, danced to the music of a portable speaker.

Residents said they heard explosions in parts of Kiev overnight, but it was unclear which locations were targeted.

News of Moscow has overshadowed Russian claims of progress in the southern port city of Mariupol, which Moscow forces have blocked since the first days of the invasion. The small number of Ukrainian defenders withstood a siege that cost the trapped and hungry civilians dearly.

The mayor of Mariupol said this week that more than 10,000 civilians had been killed and that the death toll could rise to more than 20,000. Other Ukrainian officials said they expected to find evidence in Mariupol of atrocities against civilians, such as those found in Bukha and other cities outside Kyiv.

Mariupol City Council said Friday that locals said they saw Russian troops digging up corpses buried in backyards and not allowing new burials of “the people killed by them.”

“Why the exhumation is taking place and where the bodies will be transported is unknown,” the council told the Telegram messaging app.

The capture of Mariupol will allow Russian forces in the south, which arrived through the annexed Crimean peninsula, to fully connect with troops in the Donbas region, the eastern industrial heart of Ukraine, and the target of the impending attack.

Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces in Donbas since 2014, the same year Russia occupied Crimea from Ukraine. Russia has recognized the independence of two rebel-held areas of the region.

Although it is uncertain when Russia will launch a full-scale campaign, a Ukrainian regional official said on Friday that seven people had been killed and 27 wounded when Russian forces opened fire on buses carrying civilians to the northern village of Borovaya. Kharkiv. The claim could not be independently verified.

Dmitry Tsubenko, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office, told Ukraine’s Suspilne news website that Ukrainian authorities had opened criminal proceedings in connection with a suspected “violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder”.

A huge explosion also hit the eastern city of Kramatorsk, where a rocket attack on a train station a week earlier killed more than 50 people as thousands heard warnings of evacuation in the Donbas area waiting to leave.

Associated Press reporters in Kramatorsk heard the sound of a rocket or a rocket and then the explosion, followed by sirens mourning on Friday. It was not immediately clear what hit or if there were any casualties. A day earlier, a factory in the same city was hit by an airstrike.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that Russian strikes in the Kharkiv region “cleared a group of mercenaries from a Polish private military company” of up to 30 people and “released” an iron and steel agent in Mariupol. The claims could not be independently verified.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Defense explained the damage to Moskva, saying that a fire caused an explosion of ammunition on the ship. In addition to cruise missiles, the Moskva also carried air-to-air missiles and other artillery.

The ministry did not say what could have caused the fire, but said the crew, which usually numbers about 500 people, had left the boat. It was not clear if there were any casualties.

Maksym Marchenko, governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Black Sea region, said Ukrainian forces had hit Moscow with two Neptune missiles and caused “serious damage”. Neptune is an anti-ship missile recently developed by Ukraine, based on an older Soviet design.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Police: More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kyiv region of Ukraine amid Russia invasion Source link Police: More than 900 civilian bodies found in Kyiv region of Ukraine amid Russia invasion

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