Ukrainian forces retake areas north of Kiev; Russia focuses east




March 31 - A policeman passes by the grave of a civilian killed during a bombing in Ukraine

March 31 – A policeman passes by the grave of a civilian killed during a bombing in Ukraine

Photo: Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

Ukrainian soldiers have already retaken more than 30 cities and towns in the region, according to Ukraine’s presidential adviser Okeksiy Arestovych, since Russia announced this week it would scale back operations around the capital to focus on the east. British military intelligence said Russian troops had abandoned Hostomel airport, in a northwest suburb of the capital, where fighting had raged since the first day of the invasion.

In the east, a Red Cross convoy was once again trying to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, after aborting an attempt on Friday, the 1st, because of a lack of security guarantees. But this new mission is not expected to reach the besieged city until at least Sunday.

Russia has described the troop withdrawal from Kiev’s outskirts as a good-faith gesture during peace talks. Ukraine and its allies say Russian forces were forced to regroup after suffering heavy losses.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused retreating Russian soldiers of leaving mines behind in homes, equipment and bodies of dead people. He did not cite evidence.

“In the north of our country, the invaders are leaving. It’s slow but noticeable. In some places, they are being driven out with conflict. In others, they are abandoning their positions alone,” Zelenskiy said in a video posted speech. in this Saturday.

In the village of Nova Basan, northeast of Kiev, which is among those retaken by Ukrainian forces, the body of a man lay next to a car body. A woman wept as men brought in a coffin to remove it.

The village showed signs of heavy fighting, with buildings toppled and the wreckage of tanks and armed vehicles. Another corpse, apparently that of a Russian soldier, lay near a destroyed armored vehicle.

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