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War in Ukraine, Day 46 | Over 1,200 bodies found in Kyiv region

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(Kyiv) Ukraine announced on Sunday that more than 1,200 bodies had been discovered so far in the Kyiv region, the site of atrocities committed during the Russian occupation last month, as shelling continued on the country which prepares to undergo a massive offensive in the east, fled by its inhabitants.

What you need to know

  • Dnipro airport has been the target of a new Russian strike and is “completely destroyed”;
  • Russian propaganda led to Boutcha atrocities, Kyiv says;
  • Ukraine has opened 5,600 investigations for alleged war crimes since the start of the Russian invasion;
  • The European Union will discuss on Monday a new wave of sanctions against Moscow;
  • The pope asks for an “Easter truce” to “achieve peace”;
  • More than 4.5 million Ukrainians have fled the war since February 24;
  • More than 1,200 bodies have been discovered so far in the Kyiv region.

In the immediate future, airstrikes and bombings continued on Ukraine: Sunday morning, they killed at least two people in Kharkiv, the country’s second city, and in its suburbs, announced regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov.

In Dnipro, a large industrial city of one million inhabitants, a rain of missiles destroyed the local airport, already hit on March 15, local authorities announced. The number of victims is still unknown.


Photo RONALDO SCHEMIDT, Agence France-Presse

“New attack against Dnipro airport. There’s nothing left. The airport itself and nearby infrastructure were destroyed. And the missiles continue to fly,” regional governor Valentin Reznitchenko wrote on Telegram.

During the night, it was in the Mykolaiv region, about a hundred kilometers northeast of Odessa, the country’s third largest city and a major strategic port on the Black Sea, that seven missiles fell, according to the command local military.

On Sunday, Pope Francis called from St. Peter’s Square for an “Easter truce” to “achieve peace” in Ukraine and put an end to “a war that every day brings before our eyes heinous massacres and cruelties atrocities committed against defenseless civilians”

As in response, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill, one of the pillars of Vladimir Putin’s regime, called for “uniting” around the Kremlin to fight the “external and internal enemies” of Russia.

“War on Civilians”

“The Russian army continues to wage war on civilians, for lack of victories on the front,” accused the governor of Kharkiv.

While the population tries to flee the east of the country to escape the battle which is announced there, it is in the region of Kyiv, occupied for several weeks by Russian units, and places of atrocities committed against the population civilian, that the search for the bodies continues.

“To date, we have 1,222 people killed, for the Kyiv region alone,” Attorney General Iryna Venediktova told Britain’s Sky News channel.

She did not specify whether the bodies discovered were exclusively those of civilians, but also mentioned 5,600 investigations opened for alleged war crimes since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

Mme Venediktova said a week ago that 410 dead civilians were found after Russian forces withdrew from positions they held in the Kyiv region, from where they had been unable to take the capital in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance. .

The prosecutor then suggested that there were probably many other corpses that had not yet been picked up and appraised.

In the town of Boutcha alone, northwest of Kyiv, which has become a symbol of the atrocities of the war in Ukraine, nearly 300 people were buried in mass graves, according to a report announced by the Ukrainian authorities on April 2.

“If this is not a war crime, what is a war crime? “, asked Boutcha on Friday the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who came to testify to the support of the EU for Ukraine.

“Boutcha was not made in a day. For many years, Russian political elites and propaganda have incited hatred, dehumanized Ukrainians, fueled Russian superiority and prepared the ground for these atrocities,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

In Bouzova, also near Kyiv, two bodies dressed in civilian clothes were discovered in a manhole, AFP noted. A woman approached the scene of the crime, looked inside before collapsing, having recognized the body by the shoes: “My son, my son”, she shouted.

Ready for the “big battle”

Further east, the Ukrainians were preparing to fight a “big battle” for control of the Donbass region, now a priority target for Moscow, and from where the evacuation of civilians continues in fear of an offensive. imminent.

“Ukraine is ready for the big battles”, assured the Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaïlo Podoliak on Saturday evening, while Kyiv had just received the visit of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the promise of new deliveries of weapons, in particular armored vehicles and anti-ship missiles.

After withdrawing its troops from the Kyiv region and northern Ukraine, Russia has made its priority the total conquest of Donbass, part of which has been controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Westerners to “follow the example of the United Kingdom” and impose “a total embargo on Russian hydrocarbons”.

EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, are due to consider a sixth sanctions package against Moscow, which will not, however, affect oil and gas purchases.

The head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell announced his intention to launch discussions on an oil embargo on Monday, “but a formal proposal is not on the table”, admitted a senior European official on Friday.

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance was preparing plans for a permanent military force on its borders to prevent further Russian aggression.

This new force will, he added, be a “long-term consequence” of the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Evacuations

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Sunday that 4,532 civilians had been evacuated the day before from areas threatened by fighting.

The majority left the region of Zaporizhia (south), she added, adding that nearly 200 people had been able to leave the besieged port city of Mariupol (south) and that more than a thousand had fled from towns in the Luhansk region in the east.

In Kramatorsk, where a missile strike on Friday in front of the station left 52 dead, including 5 children among the hundreds of people waiting to take a train west, evacuations of civilians continued on Saturday by road.


Photo Andriy Andriyenko, Associated Press

Evacuations continued on Sunday at Kramatorsk station, where a missile strike on Friday left 52 dead, including 5 children.

Awaiting a major Russian offensive, Ukrainian soldiers and members of the Territorial Defense were busy fortifying their positions and digging new trenches in the rural area of ​​Barvinkove in the east of the country. The roadsides were mined, and anti-tank obstacles installed at all crossroads.

Vladimir Putin, whose decision to invade Ukraine shattered over fierce Ukrainian resistance, has scaled back his plans but wants to secure a victory in Donbass ahead of the May 9 military parade marking Red Square Soviet victory over the Nazis, observers note.

More than 4.5 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the beginning of the Russian invasion, according to the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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