Kyiv (Ukraine): The bodies of more than 900 civilians have been found in the vicinity of Ukraine’s capital after Russia’s withdrawal – most of them fatally shot, police said on Friday, an indication that many were “just killed”. was cast.” The shocking numbers came soon after Russia’s defense ministry promised to intensify missile strikes on Kyiv in response to Ukraine’s alleged attacks on Russian territory. That ominous warning follows the surprise loss of Moscow’s chieftain in the Black Sea, which a senior US defense official said on Friday was in fact hit by at least one Ukrainian missile.
Amidst its threats, Moscow continued to prepare for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine. Fighting continued in the southern port city of Mariupol, where locals reported seeing Russian soldiers digging up bodies. In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, shelling at a residential area killed seven people, including a 7-month-old baby, and injured 34, according to regional government Oleh Sinehubov. Around Kyiv, the head of the capital’s regional police force, Andrey Nebitov, said bodies were left on the streets or temporarily buried. He cited police figures to say that 95% of people died from gunshot wounds. “As a result, we understand that under (Russian) occupation, people were killed only in the streets,” Nebitov said.
More bodies are being found every day under rubble and in mass graves, he said, adding that the largest numbers were found in Bucha, where there were more than 350. According to Nebyotov, utility workers gathered in a Kyiv suburb and buried the bodies while it lay down. Russian control. He said the Russian military was “marking” those who expressed strong pro-Ukraine views.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian troops of occupying parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions in the south and hunting for anyone who served in Ukraine’s military or government. “The occupiers feel that this will make it easier for them to control the area. But they are very wrong. They are making a fool of themselves,” Zelensky said. “The problem with Russia is that it is not accepted by the entire Ukrainian people – and will never be accepted. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.” In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelensky also said he discussed Mariupol’s fate with top military and intelligence officials. He said he could not give details, “but we are doing everything possible to save our people.”
Zelensky said that peace and “how many more Ukrainians have time to kill” depended on Ukraine receiving more external support, calling for more and more rapid military aid, as well as an oil spill on Russia. There is also a restriction. There could be more violence for Kyiv after Russian officials accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging nearly 100 residential buildings with airstrikes in Bryansk, bordering Ukraine. Officials in another Russian border area also reported on Thursday of Ukrainian shelling. “The number and scale of missile attacks on objects in Kiev will be increased in response to any terrorist attacks or diversions on Russian territory by the Kyiv nationalist regime,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Konashenkov said Russia used the missiles to destroy a facility for repair and production of missile systems in Kyiv. Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the target of the attack in Russia, and the reports could not be independently verified. However, Ukrainian officials said the military attacked a major Russian warship with missiles. A senior US defense official backed up the claim, saying the US now believes Moscow was hit by at least one Neptune anti-ship missile and perhaps two. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an intelligence assessment. Moskva, named after the Russian capital, sank on Thursday after heavy damage while being taken to port.
Although Moscow did not admit any attack, saying only that the ammunition on board was detonated by the fire, the loss of the ship represented a significant victory for Ukraine and a symbolic defeat for Russia. The sinking reduced Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea, although military analysts disagreed on the significance of the incident during the war. Either way, the loss was seen as a symbol of Moscow’s fate in the eight-week offensive, which was widely seen as a historical mistake after retreating from the Kyiv region and northern Ukraine. “A ‘major’ Russian warship is a worthy diving site. We now have another diving spot in the Black Sea. Will definitely visit the wreck after our victory in the war,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted on Friday.
Russia’s warning of renewed airstrikes didn’t stop Kyiv residents from taking advantage of Friday’s sunshine and slightly warmer spring as the weekend drew to a close. More people than usual came out on the streets, walking dogs, riding electric scooters and walking hand in hand. In one Central Park, a small group of people, including a woman draped in a Ukrainian flag, danced to the music of portable speakers. Such temporary signs of pre-war life have re-emerged in the capital after Russian troops failed to capture the city and retreated to focus on eastern Ukraine, leaving behind evidence of possible war crimes. But a renewed bombardment could mean the return of the air raid sirens heard in the early days of the invasion and a steady lament to the dreadful nights sheltered in subway stations.
In Mariupol, the city council said on Friday that locals reported Russian soldiers digging up bodies buried in residential courtyards and not allowing “new burials of those killed by them”. “Why the search is being done and where the bodies will be taken is unknown,” the council said on the Telegram messaging app. Fighting continued in industrial areas and the port, and Russia used Tu-22М3 long-range bombers to attack the city for the first time, said Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanik. Mariupol has been blocked by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion, and a dwindling number of Ukrainian defenders have held up against the siege which has come at a dire cost for stranded and starving civilians. The mayor said this week that the city’s death toll could cross 20,000.
Other Ukrainian officials have said they expect to find evidence of atrocities in Mariupol such as those discovered in Bucha and other cities outside Kyiv. The capture of Mariupol would allow Russian forces in the south, which had come through the Crimean peninsula, to fully engage with troops in the Donbass region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial stronghold and target of an impending invasion. It is not certain when Russia will launch a full-scale campaign. Moscow-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian forces in the Donbass since 2014, the same year Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine.
Russia has recognized the independence of the two rebel-held territories of the region. Also on Friday a Russian rocket struck an airport in the central city of Alexandria at night, Mayor Serhi Kuzmenko said via Facebook. He made no mention of casualties. A Ukrainian regional official said seven people were killed and 27 were injured when Russian forces opened fire on buses carrying civilians in the village of Borovaya near Kharkiv. The claim could not be independently verified.
Dmitro Chubenko, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office, told the Saspilne news website that authorities had initiated criminal proceedings in connection with a suspect “violation of the laws and customs of war, pre-planned murder.” Russia’s defense ministry said the attacks in the Kharkiv region “destroyed a squad of mercenaries from a Polish private military company” and “liberated” an iron and steel factory in Mariupol up to 30 people. The claims could not be independently verified.