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Ukraine War: A Russian caravan raises fears of a new campaign in the east

On Tuesday, Putin insisted that the Russian campaign was going as planned, despite Ukraine’s fierce opposition and a major setback in the face of significant losses.

Kyiv, Ukraine – Vladimir Putin on Tuesday promised that Russia’s bloody attack on Ukraine would continue until it achieved its goals, insisting that the campaign went as planned despite its retreat in the face of fierce Ukrainian opposition and significant losses.

Russian troops, who have blocked their advance on the Ukrainian capital, are now turning their attention to the eastern Donbas region, Ukraine said on Tuesday that it was investigating allegations that poison had been thrown at its troops. It was not clear what the substance might be, but Western officials warned that any use of chemical weapons by Russia would be a serious escalation of an already devastating war.

Russia invaded Kiev on February 24 to seize Kiev, overthrow the government and establish a friendly regime with Moscow, according to Western officials. Within six weeks, Russia’s ground advance had stalled, its forces had lost thousands of potential fighters, and the military had been accused of killing civilians and other atrocities.

Putin on Tuesday insisted that his occupation was to protect people in Moscow-backed rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine and “ensure Russia’s own security.”

He said Russia had “no choice” other than launching what it called a “special military operation” and promised to continue “until it is completed and the tasks set.”

For now, Putin’s forces are preparing for a major offensive in the Donbas, which has been torn apart by fighting between Russian and allied separatists and Ukrainian forces since 2014 and where Russia has recognized the separatists’ claims to independence. Military strategists say Russian leaders hope that local support, logistics and territory in the region will benefit Russia’s larger and better-armed army, and potentially allow its troops to finally turn the flow in their favor.

The Ukrainian regiment, which is defending a steel plant in the strategic port city of Mariupol in the Donbas, claims that the drone dropped poison on the city. He showed no serious injuries. The claim of the Azov Regiment, an extreme right-wing group currently part of the Ukrainian army, could not be independently confirmed.

This came after an allied separatist official in Russia called on Russian state television on Monday to use chemical weapons, saying separatist forces should close all plant exits and seize them. “Then we will use chemical troops to smoke them from there,” said official Eduard Basurin. He denied the use of chemical weapons by separatist forces in Mariupol on Tuesday.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said officials were investigating the use of phosphorous ammunition in Mariupol, which caused terrible burns but was not classified as a chemical weapon.

Most of the city was destroyed by Russian troops in a matter of weeks. The mayor said Monday that the siege had killed more than 10,000 civilians, whose bodies were “carpeted in the streets.” Mayor Vadim Boychenko said the death toll in Mariupol alone could exceed 20,000, and revealed new details about claims by Ukrainian officials that Russian forces had brought in mobile cremation equipment to destroy the bodies.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, acknowledged the difficulties facing Ukrainian troops in Mariupol. He said on Twitter that they were blocked and had supply problems, while Zelensky and the Ukrainian generals were “doing everything possible (and impossible) to find a solution and help our boys.”

Podolyak tweeted, “For more than 1.5 months, our defenders have been defending the city (Russia) from troops 10+ times larger.” They are fighting under bombs for every meter of the city. ) pay an exorbitant price. ”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the use of chemical weapons would be “a serious escalation in the conflict”, while Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said it would be a “gross violation of international law”.

A Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said in a statement that the United States could not confirm the report. However, he noted the administration’s continued concern about “Russia’s potential to use various anti-riot control agents in Ukraine, including tear gas mixed with chemicals.”

Britain, meanwhile, has warned that Russia could use phosphorus bombs banned in civilian areas under international law in Mariupol.

Most armies use phosphorous ammunition to illuminate targets or produce smoke screens. Marc-Michael Blum, a former head of the laboratory of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands, said that deliberately firing indoors to expose people to smoke could violate the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“If you start using the properties of white phosphorus, its toxic properties, especially and deliberately, then it is prohibited,” he said.

In the face of fierce resistance from Western-backed Ukrainian forces, Russian forces are increasingly hoping to bomb more cities, level more areas, and kill thousands. The war has also displaced more than 10 million Ukrainians, including two-thirds of all children.

Moscow’s withdrawal from cities and towns around the capital, Kyiv, has likely led to the discovery of a large number of murdered civilians, leading to widespread condemnation and accusations that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.

The reports focused primarily on northwestern suburbs such as Bucha, where the mayor said 403 bodies had been found. Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk feared that the death toll would rise as minesweepers raided the area.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Tuesday that it was also investigating what happened in the northeastern Brovary region.

The prosecutor’s office said that the bodies of six civilians with gunshot wounds were found in the basement of the village of Shevchenkove, and Russian forces are believed to be responsible for this.

Prosecutors are also investigating allegations that Russian forces opened fire on a convoy of civilians trying to drive from the village of Peremoha in the Brovary region, killing four people, including a 13-year-old child. Prosecutors say five people, including two children, were shot dead in another car near Bucha.

On Tuesday, Putin falsely claimed that accusations that hundreds of civilians had been killed by Russian troops in the Ukrainian city of Bucha were “false.” Associated Press reporters saw dozens of bodies in and around the city, some with their hands tied, apparently shot from close range.

During his first known march outside Moscow since the start of the war, the Russian leader spoke at the Vostochny space launch site in the country’s Far East. He also said that foreign powers would not succeed in isolating Russia.

He said Russia’s economy and financial system had withstood the blow that Western sanctions called “blitz” and would backfire by raising the prices of essential products such as fertilizers, food shortages and increasing migration flows to the West.

Referring to the pace of the campaign, Putin said Russia was moving “calmly and rhythmically” because it wanted to “achieve the planned goals by minimizing losses.”

Although Russia has gathered forces in the east, it has continued to strike targets in Ukraine to undermine the country’s defense. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it had used air and sea missiles to destroy an ammunition depot and aircraft hangar in the Starokostiantyniv district of the western Khmelnitsky region and an ammunition depot near Kyiv.

Karmanau reported from the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Associated Press writer Robert Burns in Washington and AP journalists from around the world contributed to the report.

Ukraine War: A Russian caravan raises fears of a new campaign in the east

Source link Ukraine War: A Russian caravan raises fears of a new campaign in the east

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