by Adam Schreck and Andrea Rosa
ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Ukraine gathered evidence of its dead and Russian atrocities on the ruined outskirts of Kyiv, as both sides battle what could be an extreme battle by Moscow’s military to seize the country’s industrial east on Wednesday .
As the US and its Western allies moved to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin in retaliation for war crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces were trying to push deeper into Ukraine from the east, but Ukrainian forces were trying to push them deeper into Ukraine. was holding back.
“The fate of our land and our people is being decided. We know what we are fighting for. And we will do everything to win,” Zelensky said.
Ukrainian officials have intensified calls to evacuate civilians westward from towns near the frontline ahead of a possible Russian offensive, and some essential services were being turned away. Local officials in Sloviask said postal and pension work was ending and bank branches were closing in the city.
In the deserted and silent streets of Bucha and other cities around Ukraine’s capital, where Russian troops had recently left, investigators sought to document what appeared to be widespread killings of civilians, clarifying some They were shot from close range, others tied with their hands or their flesh was burnt. Experts also cleared the mines from the areas.
At a cemetery in Bucha, workers began loading more than 60 bodies collected the previous day into grocery shipping trucks to be transported to a facility for further investigation. Some black body bags were not completely closed. One glimpse showed the bloodied face of a young adult. Another revealed a pair of white sneakers.
A few days after the Russian withdrawal, more bodies were yet to be collected at Buka. The Associated Press reported seeing two in a house in a quiet neighborhood. From time to time there was a rush of workers cleaning the city including mines without torn weapons.
In Andreevka, a village about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Kyiv, two police officers from the nearby town of Makarev came on Tuesday to identify a man whose body was found in a field near tank tracks. Captain Alla Pustova said officials found 20 bodies in the Makarev area.
Andreevka residents said the Russians arrived in early March and took the calls of the locals. Some were detained, then released; Others met by unknown fate. Some describe that they take shelter for weeks in stale, cramped cellars that are usually used to store vegetables for the winter.
With the conclusion of the sixth week of the war, the troops were gone, and Russian armored personnel carriers, a tank and other vehicles were destroyed at both ends of the road running through the village. Many buildings were converted to mounds of bricks and corrugated metal. Residents struggled without heat, electricity or cooking gas.
“At first we were scared, now we are hysterical,” said 64-year-old Valentina Klimenko. She said she, her husband and two neighbors weathered the siege by sleeping on a pile of potatoes covered with a mattress and blanket. “We didn’t cry before. Now we are crying.”
To the north of the village, in the town of Borodyanka, rescue workers searched through the rubble of the apartment block in search of bodies. Mine-disposal units worked nearby.
Failed in their attempts to take the capital and forced to withdraw, President Vladimir Putin’s forces, accompanied by mercenaries, are now arriving in the Donbass, Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland to the east.
Officials said overnight Russian forces attacked a fuel depot and a factory in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, west of the Donbass. In the Luhansk region, which is part of the Donbass, Russian shelling on Wednesday set fire to at least 10 multi-storey buildings and a mall in the city of Svyarodonetsk, the regional governor reported. There was no immediate word on deaths or injuries.
Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed rebels in Luhansk and the other Donbass region, Donetsk, since 2014. Before the February 24 invasion, Moscow recognized the regions as independent states.
Ukrainian officials have said bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in cities around Kyiv, and Associated Press reporters in Buka counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothing and interviewed Ukrainians who had witnessed the atrocities. I told.
In a video address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Zelensky said civilians were tortured, shot in the back of the head, wells thrown down, grenades blown into his apartments and people living in cars. He was crushed to death by tanks.
He said that those who ordered and who implemented them should face charges of war crimes before a tribunal established in Nuremberg after World War II. And he vehemently challenged the United Nations to remove Russia from the Security Council and show the world the organization’s worth.
“Where is the peace that the United Nations guaranteed to guarantee?” He asked.
In response to the alleged atrocities, the US announced sanctions targeting Putin’s two adult daughters and said it was toughening penalties against Russian banks. Britain banned investment in Russia and pledged to end its dependence on Russian coal and oil by the end of the year.
The EU was also expected to take additional punitive measures, including a ban on Russian coal imports.
The Kremlin has insisted that its troops have not committed any war crimes.
Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia, said that “not a single local person” was victimized by the violence while Buka was under Russian control. Using a tactic Russian officials have often relied on in the face of accusations of atrocities, they said the scenes of bodies on the streets were staged “a crude forgery” by Ukrainians.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, aid group Doctors Without Borders said its staff witnessed an attack on a cancer hospital in a residential district in the southern city of Mykolaiv on Monday. The group said it was the third known strike in recent days on a hospital in the port city, the capture of which holds the key to giving Russia control of the Black Sea coast.
It said it did not have an overall death toll, but that its team found a body.
The group said it also observed several small holes in the ground, which were scattered over a larger area, suggesting the use of cluster bombs. Russia denies the use of cluster weapons in Ukraine. The use of such weapons against civilians may be a violation of international law.
Attacks on medical facilities and workers are considered war crimes, and Russia has been accused of attacking several medical facilities during the conflict, including a maternity hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol, which is part of the Donbass and It has been the scene of some of the worst pains of war.
British defense officials said 160,000 people were stranded without power, communications, medicine, heat or water in Russian air raids and heavy fighting in that city.
A Red Cross team has been trying to enter Mariupol since Friday and arrived within 20 kilometers (12 miles), but the organization said it was too dangerous to enter.
Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine are discussing ways to end the fighting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talks were continuing despite allegations of war crimes.
Oleksandr Stashevsky and Kara Anna in Buka, Ukraine, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to this report.
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