Russian armed forces continue to withdraw troops from northern Ukraine. Withdrawal from key cities allowed Ukrainians to reclaim the entire Kiev region, the government said.
Now, however, Ukrainian soldiers face a very different test as they return to formerly occupied cities only to witness the violence of recent weeks. In particular, in Bucha, where about 300 people were to be buried in mass graves and where the bodies lie on the ground of some streets.
But if Russia withdraws from northern Ukraine, it will increase pressure on eastern Ukraine. In Mariupol, after the first unsuccessful attempt to enter the port city to evacuate civilians, the Red Cross launched a second operation on Saturday.
Here are the events that marked the last hours of the conflict in Ukraine.
Liberated northern cities
This is a shift in strategy that marks a real break from what has been seen since the start of the war in Ukraine. The Russian army decided to concentrate its forces in the east of the country and, in particular, in the Donbass, and put aside the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
So much so that this Saturday, April 2, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar announced the liberation of the entire region after the withdrawal of Russian troops from key cities near the capital.
After Irpin were the cities of Bucha and Gostomel. “liberated from invaders” she said on Facebook.
In recent days, other cities in the north of the country, such as Trostyanets, have been captured by the Ukrainian army.
Horror scenes and accusations of executions in Bucha
The cities around Kyiv are captured by the Ukrainians, the withdrawal of the Russian army in the north is well and truly observed, but traces of its passage remain. In Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, the loss of life is catastrophic and the scenes are apocalyptic.
“On some streets we see 15 to 20 corpses on the ground,” corn “I can’t say how many of them are still in the yards, behind the palisades,” said the mayor Anatoly Fedoruk.
In a video posted on social media, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry accuses Russian forces of arbitrary executions of civilians in the suburbs of the capital. There we see bodies scattered across the land of Bucha. Many other images are circulating on social media. Several journalists report photos of victims with their hands tied.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss responded to this on Twitter. “Outraged by the atrocities committed in Bucha and other cities of Ukraine”, she said that the UK is currently working with other countries on “gathering evidence” as well as “support the EU and the International Criminal Court” in investigation “war crimes”. Before concluding: “The perpetrators will be held accountable.”
The mayor of Buchi announced this.AFP, on the phone that “280 people” has already been buried “in mass graves”, because it was impossible to do so in the three cemeteries of the municipality, all within reach of the Russian soldiers.
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Over 4,000 civilians evacuated this Saturday
In a statement on the Telegram social network, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk announced the evacuation of 4,217 civilians from cities across the country through humanitarian corridors.
It specifies that 1,263 people from the besieged Mariupol and the Russian-held city of Berdyansk joined Zaporozhye this Saturday, April 2, confirming information reported by several journalists on the spot.
Irina Vereshchuk also said that 17 buses arrived from Zaporozhye to Berdyansk, which were supposed to continue the evacuation of Mariupol residents this Sunday morning.
2,650 civilians were also able to leave the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine.
The Red Cross continues its work towards Mariupol
According to US media, in the port city of Mariupol, where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating day by day, there are still about 100,000 residents waiting to be evacuated. CNN.
This Saturday, April 2, a Red Cross convoy was supposed to go there to try again to evacuate civilians from the besieged city after an unsuccessful first attempt. “There is an operation to exit to Mariupol, said Ewan Watson, a spokesman for the organization, reports New York Times. We are not standing still, we are moving slowly but surely. »
Progress in negotiations according to Ukraine
Negotiations between Russians and Ukrainians continue in Istanbul, Turkey. This Saturday, the chief Ukrainian negotiator, David Arakhamia, appeared on a television program and said that Russia had given “verbal” consent to Ukraine’s main proposals. Kyiv is now awaiting written confirmation.
Russia reportedly aiming for victory in early May in eastern Ukraine
According to several high-ranking officials of the US Department of Defense, reporting the latest information from the intelligence services, Russia would change its military strategy, focusing only on the Donbass, and would aim for victory in early May in this region, writes CNN.
According to those officials, the intelligence agencies believe Putin has focused on May 9, Russia’s “Victory Day,” a holiday on the Russian calendar when the country commemorates the surrender of the Nazis in World War II. a grandiose parade of troops and weapons on Red Square in front of the Kremlin.