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

KYIV: The bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine were taken to a railway yard outside Kiev and stacked with hundreds of others in a refrigerated train, waiting to be returned to their families.
“Most of them were from the Kiev region, there are some from the Chernihiv region and also some other regions,” Volodymyr Lyamzin, the chief civil-military liaison officer, told Reuters on Friday as stretcher bearers in white, head-to-face. teen protective suits lifted body bags into the carriages.
He said refrigerated trains stationed in other regions of Ukraine were being used for the same grim purpose.
While there are no reliable estimates of the extent of Russia’s losses, the scene filmed by Reuters gave a bitter taste of the price President Vladimir Putin has been paying since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
A day earlier, the Ukrainian army released aerial photos of the burned-out and abandoned remains of a Russian armored column that was caught crossing a river in the Donbas region, which has become the main battlefield.
Reuters was unable to verify the Ukrainian report, but the British Ministry of Defense said a pontoon bridge and parts of an armored battalion had been destroyed near the Siverskyi Donets River as Russian forces attempted to break through defenses elsewhere in the Donbas.
“We are entering a new, long phase of the war,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a Facebook post, predicting “extremely tough weeks” during which 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 from its second-largest city, Kharkov.
The northeastern city, which was heavily bombed, has been quiet for at least two weeks. Reuters journalists have confirmed that Ukraine controls territory extending to the Siverskyi Donets River, about 40 km (25 miles) to the east.
However, Moscow is still bombing nearby villages, including Dergachi, some 10 km north of Kharkov.
“I can only call it an act of terrorism,” Dergachi mayor Vyacheslav Zadorenko told Reuters after rockets hit a building used to distribute aid.
Russia, which has denied targeting civilians, said its forces had hit an arms depot, shot down a Ukrainian Su-27 plane in the Kharkov region and shut down the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the claims.
Putin’s most tangible success was capturing a swath of territory along the southern coast to connect the Crimean peninsula — which Russia captured in 2014 — with the southeastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Russian separatists have fought Ukrainian forces for years.
Even there, his troops 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 mill are members of the Azov regiment. Deputy Commander Sviatoslav Palamar said Friday that his troops will continue to resist as long as possible.
“Our enemy, supported by aircraft and artillery, continues to attack. They continue their attack on our positions, but we continue to repel them,” he told an online forum streamed on YouTube.
Ukraine has proposed to evacuate 38 of the most seriously injured defenders and release a number of Russian prisoners of war in return.
“At the moment, very complex negotiations are underway about the next phase of the evacuation mission – the removal of the seriously injured, medics,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late-night address.
Anna Kuznetsova, deputy head of the Russian Duma or lower house of parliament, visited Kherson and offered assistance to residents of the small southern Ukraine town taken in the first week of the invasion, the state news agency RIA reported on Saturday.
There has also been renewed fighting around Snake Island, a strategically located islet that controls vital shipping routes in the Black Sea.
The Kremlin calls the invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarize a neighboring country that threatens its security. Ukraine says it poses no threat to Russia and that the deaths of thousands of civilians and the destruction of towns and villages show that Russia is waging a war of aggression.
In their first conversation since the invasion, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Russian Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu on Friday, demanding an immediate ceasefire and emphasizing the importance of open lines of communication.
A day after Finland committed itself to joining NATO, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde also pleaded for her country’s membership, although NATO member Turkey had expressed objections.
Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance would end the neutrality the two states maintained during the Cold War. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his invasion of Ukraine, intended to prevent, has said one of the goals of the war was to prevent further expansion of the Western military group of 30 countries.
At a meeting in Germany, foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich countries supported Ukraine more aid and weapons, and Josep Borrell, head of the European Union’s foreign policy, announced an additional 500 million euros ($520 million). ) in military aid to members to be approved by the EU next week.
Borrell expressed confidence that the bloc would agree to an embargo on Russian oil, though Hungary is demanding compensation before committing.

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