Ukraine: Ukraine collects Russian dead as war continues on multiple fronts

KYIV: The bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine were taken to a rail yard on the outskirts of Kiev and piled with hundreds of others on a refrigerated train, awaiting the moment when they can be sent back to their families.
“Most of them were brought from the Kiev region, there are some from the Chernihiv region and some other regions as well,” Volodymyr Lyamzin, the top civil-military liaison officer, told Reuters on Friday, as white-clad stretcher bearers. . Protective toe suits lifted the bags onto the wagons.
He said refrigerated trains parked in other regions of Ukraine are being used for the same dark purpose.
While there are no reliable estimates of the scale of Russia’s losses, the scene filmed by Reuters gave a bitter taste of the price President Vladimir Putin has been paying since ordering the invasion of Ukraine on Feb.
A day earlier, Ukraine’s military released aerial photographs of the burned and abandoned remains of a captured Russian armored column trying to cross a river in the Donbas region, which became the main battleground.
Reuters could not verify the Ukrainian report, but the British Defense Ministry said a floating bridge and parts of an armored battalion were destroyed in the Siverskyi Donets River as Russian forces tried to breach defenses in other parts of the Donbas.
“We are entering a new and long phase of the war,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a Facebook post, predicting “extremely difficult weeks” when Ukraine would be largely alone against an “enraged aggressor”.
Making their fastest territorial gains since forcing Russian invaders to abandon an advance on Kiev more than a month ago, Ukrainian forces have driven their enemies out of the second largest city, Kharkiv.
The northeastern city, which had been fiercely bombed, has been silent for at least two weeks. Reuters journalists confirmed that Ukraine controls the territory that extends to the Siverskyi Donets River, some 40 km to the east.
However, Moscow is still bombing nearby villages, including Dergachi, about 10 km north of Kharkiv.
“I can’t call this anything but a terrorist act,” Dergachi Mayor Vyacheslav Zadorenko told Reuters after missiles hit a building used to distribute aid.
Russia, which denies attacking civilians, said its forces hit an arms depot, shot down a Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft in the Kharkiv region and shut down the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine.
Reuters could not independently verify the allegations.
Putin’s most tangible success was capturing a swath of territory along the southern coast to link the Crimean peninsula – which Russia took over in 2014 – with the southeastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for a long time. years old.
Even there, his forces were still trying to extinguish the last bastion of resistance at the Azovstal factory in the southern port city of Mariupol.
Many of those still in the steel industry are members of the Azov Regiment. Deputy commander Sviatoslav Palamar said on Friday his forces would continue to hold out as long as they could.
“Our enemy, supported by planes and artillery, continues to attack. They continue to attack our positions, but we continue to repel them,” he said in an online forum broadcast on YouTube.
Ukraine proposed the evacuation of 38 of the most seriously wounded defenders, offering in return the release of several Russian prisoners of war.
“At the moment, very complex negotiations are underway on the next phase of the evacuation mission – the removal of the seriously injured, medical personnel,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an evening speech.
Anna Kuznetsova, deputy head of Russia’s Duma or lower house of parliament, visited Kherson, offering assistance to residents of the small southern Ukrainian town seized in the first week of the invasion, state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.
There has also been renewed fighting around Cobra Island, a strategically located islet that controls vital shipping lanes in the Black Sea.
The Kremlin calls the invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize a neighbor that threatens its security. Ukraine says it poses no threat to Russia and that the deaths of thousands of civilians and the destruction of cities and towns show that Russia is waging a war of aggression.
In their first conversation since the invasion, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone on Friday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, seeking an immediate ceasefire and stressing the importance of open lines of communication. .
A day after Finland pledged to apply to NATO, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde also defended her country’s membership, although NATO member Turkey raised objections.
Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance would end the neutrality that the two states maintained during the Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his invasion of Ukraine with the aim of preventing said one of the goals of the war was to prevent further expansion of the 30-nation Western military group.
Meeting in Germany, foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations backed giving more aid and weapons to Ukraine and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced a further 500 million euros ($520 million) in support. military that should be approved next week by EU members.
Borrell expressed confidence that the bloc will agree to an embargo on Russian oil, although Hungary is demanding compensation before committing.

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