Ukrainian authorities are concerned about further Russian assaults in eastern areas such as Kharkiv and Luhansk, with the White House warning the next phase of the war could last “months or longer.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the possibility of holding more talks with Russia was very challenging, but there was no other option. Speaking on Ukrainian television, Zelenskyy added that a face-to-face meeting between him and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin does not look likely. The Ukrainian leader said the killings in Bucha showed the phrase “needing denazification,” which Putin used as justification for the invasion, applies more to Russia than to Ukraine. He repeated that his country would need security guarantees as part of any peace settlement. Zelenskyy said the Ukraine and Russia would not be able to agree on all points over Donbas at once but should work on it.
Newly released satellite photographs by Maxar Technologies appeared to show that bodies have been on the streets of the Ukrainian town of Bucha since mid-March, when Russian forces controlled the town. Ukraine has accused Russian forces of committing atrocities in Bucha, which lies on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv. Russia has denied these allegations and claims that the images of bodies on the streets of the town were faked by Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian forces retook the town on March 31.
Russia’s parliamentary speaker has said the West staged the civilian killings in Bucha to “discredit” Russia, despite having no evidence to back up his claims. “The situation in Bucha is a provocation … Washington and Brussels are the screenwriters and directors and Kyiv are the actors,” said Vyacheslav Volodin,” speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma. “There are no facts, just lies,” he added. Over the weekend, Ukrainian troops, satellite imagery, journalists and civilians revealed evidence of the slaughter of innocent civilians after Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv. Images showed streets littered with the bodies of people. Other images showed victims who had been shot in the head with their hands bound. A mass grave was also discovered. International condemnation followed the discovery of the bodies, with Western leaders calling for tougher action against Russia.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba calling for talks to end the conflict in Ukraine. “Wars end eventually. The key is how to reflect on the pain, to maintain lasting security in Europe and establish a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security mechanism,” Wang said, according to the ministry. “China stands ready to play a constructive role in this regard in an objective position,” he added. It is the first reported high-level conversation between the countries since the beginning of March when Kuleba asked Beijing to use its ties with Moscow to stop Russia’s invasion. “We both share the conviction that ending the war against Ukraine serves common interests of peace, global food security, and international trade,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
British military intelligence said Russian forces would need “significant re-equipping and refurbishment” before they could be redeployed in Ukraine. In its latest intelligence update, the British Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces were retaking key terrain in the north after forcing Russia to retreat. Moscow’s troops were pulling out of areas north of Kyiv and Chernihiv in the north of Ukraine. It said low-level fighting might continue while forces are withdrawing.
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