Ukrainian officials have said a major city east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, has been retaken from Russian forces, but the withdrawing forces are said to be scrapping massively in the territories lost in their wake.
The mayor of Brovary said it was liberated as Ukrainian forces worked to expel the last Russian forces and clear the area of ”military equipment”.
The most recent success, 12 miles east of Kyiv, came as President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskywarned that Russian forces were causing a “complete disaster” by leaving mines on homes and bodies as they retreated.
Russia continued to withdraw some of its ground forces from areas around the capital after it said earlier this week that it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv.
But in his usual speech in the early hours of Saturday, Zelensky said that the cities around the city are located in satellites. It was randomly detonated.
He said, “They dig all over the land. They mine houses, mining equipment, even dead bodies. There are a lot of trip wires, and a lot of other dangers.”
Amidst reports of missile attacks on the central region Ukraine The cities of Poltava and Kremenchug on Saturday morning, Zelensky said the Russians were withdrawing “slowly but significantly”.
He appealed to Russian families not to allow their young men to enlist in the army as the Kremlin’s annual military recruitment drive began.
We don’t need more dead here. Save your kids so that they don’t become evil. Do not send them to the army. Do whatever you can to keep them alive. Keep them at home,” he said, adding that he believed Russia was trying to recruit recruits from Crimea.
On Friday, the Ukrainian military said it had recaptured 29 settlements in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions.
But Ukraine and its allies warned that the Kremlin was not stopping the escalation to boost confidence at the negotiating table, as it claimed, but instead restoring supplies and moving its forces to the east of the country.
These movements appear to be preparing for an intensified attack on the unilaterally declared republics of the mostly Russian-speaking Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, which includes Mariupol.
Zelensky did not say anything about the latest round of talks that took place on Friday by video. In a round of talks earlier in the week, Ukraine said it was ready to abandon its bid to join NATO and declare itself neutral – Moscow’s main demand – in exchange for security guarantees from several other countries.
The invasion left thousands dead and displaced more than 4 million refugees from Ukraine.
The besieged and devastated southern port city of Mariupol experienced some of the worst suffering of the war. Capturing it would be a major prize for the Russian president, Russian President Vladimir PutinHe gave his country an uninterrupted land bridge to Crimea, which was seized from Ukraine in 2014.
On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was unable to carry out an operation to evacuate civilians from Mariupol by bus. City authorities said the Russians had denied access to the city.
“We do not see a real desire on the part of the Russians and their satellites to provide an opportunity for Mariupol residents to evacuate to the territory controlled by Ukraine,” Petro Andryushenko, adviser to the Mayor of Mariupol, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
He said that Russian forces “categorically do not allow any humanitarian shipments, even in small quantities, to enter the city.”
About 100,000 people are believed to have remained in the city, down from 430,000 before the war. Weeks of Russian bombing and street fighting have caused severe shortages of water, food, fuel and medicine.
“We have run out of adjectives that we use to describe the horrors that the people of Mariupol have endured,” said Ewan Watson, a spokesman for the Red Cross.
Russian forces on Thursday blocked a convoy of 45 buses trying to evacuate people from Mariupol and confiscated 14 tons of food and medical supplies bound for the city, Ukrainian authorities said.
More than 3,000 people managed to leave Mariupol on Friday, Zelensky said. He said he had discussed the humanitarian disaster with French President Emmanuel Macron over the phone and with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Mitsula, during her visit to Kyiv.
“Europe has no right to be silent about what is happening in Mariupol,” Zelensky said. “The whole world must respond to this humanitarian catastrophe.”
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