IRPIN, Ukraine (AP) – Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine gained momentum Thursday as the head of the United Nations surveyed the devastation in towns outside Kyiv that witnessed some of the country’s worst atrocities. The first attack of the war.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the atrocities visited in Cities like Bucha Evidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia withdrew from the region in the face of tougher-than-expected Ukrainian resistance.
Forced to reassemble after failure to take the capitalRussia has shifted its focus to the heart of the vital eastern industrial region, where the pace of fighting is now increasing. The Ukrainian military said several areas of Donbass came under heavy fire in the past day, and satellite images showed new damage from shelling on the last known pocket of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.
Ukrainian authorities have warned that civilians still in the southeastern port city are facing dangerously unsanitary conditions, while many dead from a two-month siege remain unburied.
“Wherever there is war, civilians pay the highest price,” Guterres said while visiting the bombed Kyiv suburb of Irbin.
He has sought to bring the destruction back home, saying that he imagined his family had to flee from the bombs that had fallen on their home, and he reiterated how important it was to investigate alleged war crimes.
“But when we talk about war crimes, we cannot forget that the worst crimes are the war itself,” he added at his station in Bucha.
The revelations of the mass killings around Kyiv helped mobilize support for Ukraine in the West, which has imposed sanctions on Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov vowed that his country would join others in providing military assistance as he toured another scene of atrocities outside Kyiv, Borodinka.
“We cannot be indifferent. We cannot say that this is a Ukrainian problem, and we cannot say that some people are dying but we are not interested in that. This is not only the battle of Ukraine, but it is up to civilization to choose which side to take.”
Bulgaria, under a new liberal government that took power last fall, severed many of its old ties with Moscow and supported punitive measures against the Kremlin.
The Bulgarian leader’s visit comes a day after a visit to Russia Natural gas was suddenly cut off from his country and fellow NATO member Polandin what was seen as an attempt to punish and divide the West over its support for Ukraine ahead of a possible pivotal battle in the eastern industrial zone of Donbass.
As Russia presses this offensive, civilians are once again bearing the brunt.
“It’s not only scary. It’s when your stomach cramps in pain,” said Tatiana Pirogova, a resident of the northeastern city of Kharkiv. “When they shoot during the day, it’s still fine, but when evening comes, I can’t describe how much It’s terrifying.”
The Ukrainian Army’s General Staff said that Russian forces “launched intense fire” in several places in Donbass. She said that during the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces repelled six attacks in the region.
The most intense action was around Donetsk and near Kharkiv, which lies outside Donbass but is seen as key to Russia’s apparent attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces there.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haiday said the Russian army also heavily bombed residential areas in his district, also in Donbass, saying that four civilians were killed in the past day and four others were wounded.
Satellite imagery analyzed by the Associated Press also showed evidence of intense Russian firing on Mariupol in recent days. The photos show how the focused attacks inflicted significant damage on a central facility at the steel plants of Azovstal, the last stronghold of Ukrainian fighters in the main battle city.
An estimated 1,000 civilians are sheltering alongside about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters in the steel mills, a massive Soviet-era complex with a slew of underground facilities built to withstand air strikes.
Hundreds of thousands of Mariupol residents have fled, but the city council said Thursday that 100,000 people left behind are at “fatal risk”, vulnerable to diseases such as cholera and dysentery due to unsanitary conditions in the largely reduced city. To the ruins of the siege of Russia.
“Deadly epidemics may spread in the city due to the lack of centralized water supply and sanitation,” the council said in the Telegram messaging app. She added that the bodies were decomposing under the rubble and there was a “catastrophic” shortage of drinking water and food.
Meanwhile, Russia said a city under its control in the south was bombed. In what could be a Ukrainian counterattack, a series of explosions went off near the TV tower late Wednesday in Khersonoccupied by Russian forces since the beginning of the war. Ukrainian and Russian news agencies reported that the explosions caused at least a temporary suspension of broadcasts on Russian channels.
Ukraine has urged its allies to send more military equipment so that it can continue its fight.
“So far, NATO allies have pledged at least 8 billion US dollars in military support to Ukraine. We see the importance of further intensifying our support to Ukraine,” NATO President Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
While the initial Russian blitzkrieg was halted – And suffered the humiliating loss of a huge warship The British Ministry of Defense said the Russian Navy still had the ability to strike coastal targets in Ukraine.
In an intelligence briefing released Thursday morning, the ministry said about 20 Russian naval vessels, including submarines, are currently operating in the Black Sea region.
But the ministry says Russia is unable to replace the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, which sank earlier this month in the Black Sea, because the Bosporus remains closed to all non-Turkish warships. Russia also lost the landing ship Saratov, which was destroyed by explosions and fire on March 24.
In addition to its maneuvers on the battlefield, Moscow has also bolstered the pressure by taking advantage of its vital energy exports.
European leaders have criticized the decision to isolate Poland and Bulgaria as “blackmail,” saying the move and the Kremlin’s warning that it could halt shipments to other countries is a failed attempt to divide the West over its support for Ukraine.
The tactic against the two countries in the European Union may eventually force the target countries to ration gas and deal another blow to economies suffering from high prices. At the same time, it could deprive Russia of much-needed income to fund its war effort.
Cutting off the gas does not put the two countries in immediate trouble. Poland, in particular, has been lining up other suppliers for many years, and the continent is heading into summer, which makes gas less important for households.
Gazprom said it shut down the two countries because they refused to pay in rubles, and President Vladimir Putin also demanded “unfriendly” countries.
European countries refrained from Russia’s demand for the ruble. Moscow has since proposed a system that it says meets its demand – but the Europeans say it means they are still paying in euros or dollars.
“Europe (and) Germany will pay in euros, and other countries may pay in dollars, not rubles.” Germany Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Wednesday. “Transfer, once the payments are made, is a matter for Gazprom. We have discussed this matter with the European Union. We will continue down this path.”
Keaton reports from Kyiv, Ukraine. Associated Press reporters John Gambrel and Juras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstislav Chernov in Kharkiv, Jesica Fisch in Slovensk, and AP staff around the world contributed to this report.
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