The authorities ukrainian reported the discovery of three bodies of men with torture marks in a ditch near Bucha, an area that was occupied for weeks by Russian troops, who on Saturday (30) bombed Kharkiv and other cities in the east of the country.
The bodies, taken from a ditch in the town of Myrotske, were bound and blindfolded, Kiev police chief Andriy Nebytov said. “The victims were tortured for a long time … In the end, each was shot in the temple,” he said.
Myrotske is located near Bucha, a city in the Kiev region that has become a symbol of the atrocities of the war in Ukraine since the discovery, in early April – after the departure of Russian troops – of dozens of bodies dressed in civilian clothes lying on the streets.
Nebytov said that in Myrotske “the occupants [russos] tried to hide evidence of their abuse, so they dumped the bodies in a pit and covered them with earth”.
Ukrainian prosecutors said this week that they had identified more than 8,000 war crimes since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, and that they were investigating 10 Russian soldiers for their alleged involvement in the atrocities in Bucha.
Russia denies involvement in the massacres and says it is a ruse orchestrated by the Ukrainian government.
Bombings in Kharkiv
Russian troops, faced with unexpected resistance in the north, have been concentrating their attacks for several weeks in the east, where they are supported by pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region and in the south.
Kharkiv (in the east) suffered several artillery bombardments on Saturday, which left one dead and five wounded, said the military administration of the city, the second largest in Ukraine. Antonina, a resident of Kharkiv, found the house destroyed and a rocket in the area where the bathroom was. “It was scary,” she said.
The concentration of Russian troops in the east does not prevent the bombing of other regions. The airport in Odessa (south) was targeted on Saturday by a Russian missile that destroyed its runway, but did not cause any casualties, announced the governor of the region.
On Thursday (28), several missiles were fired at Kiev during the visit of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. The Russian government said the attack targeted a missile factory.
Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky lamented that “such a deliberate and brutal humiliation of the United Nations by Russia had no response” from the international community.
The Ukrainian government acknowledges that several villages in the Donbass region have fallen into Russian hands, but assures that it is also causing significant blows. “The situation in the Kharkiv region is tough, but our Armed Forces and our intelligence have recorded important tactical successes,” Zelensky said in a televised speech.
Ukrainian troops announced that they had recovered a “strategically important” village near Kharkiv, Ruska Lozova, and had evacuated hundreds of civilians.
A NATO source said that Russia had recorded “small and irregular” advances due to the counterattack by Ukrainian troops, armed by Western countries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Chinese state news agency Xinhua that his country’s offensive was “according to plans”. Lavrov also called on NATO to stop sending arms to Kiev, “if it is really interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis.”
Thousands of people have died and millions have been forced to flee their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that was under its rule during the Cold War but now seeks to strengthen its alliance with Western countries.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Friday denounced the destruction of Ukraine and criticized what he called the “depravity” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia managed to take control of the strategic port of Mariupol (southeast) after weeks of siege and bombing of the city. But the last stronghold of fighters, along with many civilians, persists in the tunnels of the great steelworks complex of Azovstal.
The UN said it was trying to evacuate civilians, but Dennis Pushilin, leader of the pro-Moscow breakaway region of Donetsk, accused Ukrainian forces of “acting like terrorists” for allegedly holding civilians at the steel mill.
In the port area of Mariupol, AFP reporters heard the heavy bombing of Azovstal on Friday (29), during a press visit organized by the Russian army.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said 14 Ukrainian nationals, including a pregnant military woman, were exchanged Saturday for an unspecified number of Russian prisoners.