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Russia-Ukraine live updates: Photos appear to show bodies scattered in Bucha, other cities

MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES

(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.” Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as other major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Apr 03, 4:20 pm
‘Concentrated evil has come,’ Zelenskyy addresses civilian deaths in Bucha

Following graphic images of casualties coming out of Bucha, Ukraine, after Russian military withdrawal, Ukrainian President President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has strong words about he called, “concentrated evil, in his daily address Sunday. Here are excerpts from that address:

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“Hundreds of people were killed. Tortured, executed civilians. Corpses on the streets. Mined area. Even the bodies of the dead were mined!”

“Concentrated evil has come to our land. Murderers. Torturers. Rapists. Looters. Who call themselves the army. And who deserve only death after what they did.”

“I want every mother of every Russian soldier to see the bodies of the killed people in Bucha, in Irpin, in Hostomel. What did they do? Why were they killed? What did the man who was riding his bicycle down the street do? Why were ordinary civilians in an ordinary peaceful city tortured to death? Why were women strangled after their earrings were ripped out of their ears? How could women be raped and killed in front of children? How could their corpses be desecrated even after death? Why did they crush the bodies of people with tanks? What did the Ukrainian city of Bucha do to your Russia? How did all this become possible?”

“All partners of Ukraine will be informed in detail about what happened in the temporarily occupied territory of our state. War crimes in Bucha and other cities during the Russian occupation will also be considered by the UN Security Council on Tuesday.”

Zelenslyy also invited former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Ukraine to witness the carnage.

“We do not blame the West. We do not blame anyone but the specific Russian military who did this against our people,” Zelenskyy, who has pleaded with the U.S. and NATO allies to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a measure so far, that President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have refused to do, said.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 03, 3:02 pm
World leaders react to images showing bodies of civilians scattered on streets

Several world leaders on Sunday reacted to images shared by Ukraine’s president’s office, claiming to show the bodies of civilians scattered on the streets after the withdrawal of Russian troops from areas northwest of Kyiv.

In some of the photos, unarmed civilians appear to have been executed with their hands tied behind their backs.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the deaths of civilians in Bucha a “brutality” on CNN’s “State of the Union” show, and said “I strongly welcome” an investigation by International Criminal Court, which has opened an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine.

“You can’t but [see] those images as a punch to the gut … Since the aggression, we’ve come out and said that we believe Russian forces have committed war crimes and we’ve been working to document that, to provide the information that we have to the relevant institutions and organizations that will put all of this together,” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“Russia’s despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know to be the truth — Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing, and Ukraine’s resolve has never been stronger. I will do everything in my power to starve Putin’s war machine. We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as bolstering our humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground. The UK has been at the forefront of supporting the international Criminal Court’s investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine. The Justice Secretary has authorized additional financial support and the deployment of specialist investigators – we will not rest until justice is served,” Johnson said.

Other world leaders expressed their feelings on social media.

“Appalled by reports of unspeakable horrors in areas from which Russia is withdrawing. An independent investigation is urgently needed. Perpetrators of war crimes will be held accountable,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen posted on Twitter.

“Mass killings of Ukrainian civilians by #Russia are clear war crimes,” Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Twitter.. “We need courage, moral clarity and more action to stop it. Indifference is the mother of all crimes. Evidence must be gathered, saved for trials, and perpetrators must face justice. We need a 5th round of strong EU sanctions as soon as possible. Finally, our top priority should be increased military aid to #Ukraine. They need it to take back their cities and free people from Russian occupation and repression. #StandWithUkraine”

The prime minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša also weighed in on Twitter: “This are massive crimes against humanity. Russian army behaves as a horde of KGB executioners at Katyn. And at many other places after and before. Never bearing responsibility. After seeing #BuchaMassacre, we are terrified to even imagine what we will see in #Mariupol.”

Belgium’s Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès, also posted om Twitter: “The images from the city of #Bucha confirm the fears we have had since February, which have led us to support several international investigations, including that of the @IntlCrimCourt. Impunity must not be allowed.”

“Terrible images of destruction and reported executions of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, in wake of Russian aggression. Reminiscent of darkest scenes from European history. To fight impunity :flag-se: will support @IntlCrimCourt investigation, incl financially and with seconded personnel,” Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, also posted to Twitter

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 03, 10:23 am
Ukraine asks for investigation into Russian ‘war crimes’

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, called on the International Criminal Court and other international organizations to investigate Russians committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“I urge the International Criminal Court and international organizations to send their missions to Bucha and other liberated towns and villages of the Kyiv region, in cooperation with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, to collect all evidence of Russian war crimes as carefully as possible,” Kuleba said Sunday on Times UK radio.

“We are still collecting and looking for bodies, but the toll has already gone into the hundreds. Dead bodies lie on the streets. They killed civilians while in and out of these villages and towns,” he said.

-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd

Apr 03, 4:22 am
Russia strikes Odessa, strategic Black Sea port city

Plumes of dark smoke rose on Sunday over Odessa, Ukraine, after an early morning Russian attack on the strategic and historic port city.

Missiles struck critical infrastructure facilities in the southern city, which sits on the Black Sea, Ukraine’s southern command announced. Casualties have not yet been reported.

-ABC News’ Yulia Drozd

Apr 02, 6:43 pm
Zelenskyy updates on resistance’s progress, calls on West to send more weapons

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a new address Saturday updating the progress of the country’s defense against Russian forces.

Ukrainian forces are regaining control of the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, according to the president.

“There are more and more Ukrainian national flags in the areas that have been temporarily occupied,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy, however, said his country hasn’t received any new weapon systems from the West and chastised Western allies.

“Every Russian missile that hit our cities and every bomb dropped on our people, on our children, only adds black paint to the history that will describe everyone on whom the decision depended; [the] decision whether to help Ukraine with modern weapons,” he said.

-ABC News’ Jason Volack

Apr 02, 2:53 pm
Ukrainian photographer found dead in Kyiv area

Acclaimed Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin was found dead by police in the Kyiv region, , a Ukrainian online publication, confirmed.

Levin went missing on March 13 while covering fighting in the village of Moshchun, Ukraine, with Oleksiy Chernyshov, who has not yet been found. Intense fighting broke out in the area where they were.

Levin worked as a photojournalist, documentary photographer and cameraman for many Ukrainian and international publications, according to .

He worked in the editorial office of for more than 10 years, and has also worked with Reuters, BBC, TRT World, Associated Press and Hromadske.

Apr 02, 1:54 pm
Ukrainian flag raised over Chernobyl

The Ukrainian national flag was raised above the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Saturday at 11:00 a.m. local time, as workers sung the national anthem and celebrated the departure of Russian troops who had occupied the site for weeks.

“The flag-raising ceremony was attended by the station’s operational personnel, who have been ensuring and continue to ensure the nuclear and radiation safety of the facilities during the difficult conditions of the occupation,” Energoatom, Ukraine’s state enterprise which operates its nuclear power stations, posted on its Telegram channel.

Apr 02, 1:51 pm
Russia to halt cooperation over International Space Station unless sanctions lifted: Roscosmos CEO

Roscosmos, the Russian state space corporation, said it will present the Russian government with proposals for discontinuing international cooperation on the International Space Station.

“Specific proposals from Roscosmos on the timeframe for ending cooperation on the ISS with the space agencies of the United States, Canada, the European Union and Japan will be submitted to our country’s administration in the near future,” Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said on his Telegram channel.

Resumption of normal cooperation with ISS partners is only possible if the sanctions are fully lifted, Rogozin said.

“I believe that restoration of normal relations between the partners on the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only if the illegal sanctions are lifted fully and unconditionally,” he wrote.

Apr 02, 9:06 am
Red Cross traveling to Mariupol once more to evacuate civilians

Red Cross renewed its attempts to send a team to Mariupol on Saturday to evacuate civilians, after a team was unable to reach the city on Friday.

“Our team is on the move this morning from Zaporizhzhia to Mariupol. I’m not able to give further information at this stage,” a Red Cross spokesperson said to Reuters.

An estimated 160,000 people are trapped in Mariupol.

A team on Friday had to abandon its plan to send 54 buses and many cars to Mariupol after it was unable to get security guarantees for the convoy.

Apr 02, 8:49 am
Pope says he is considering trip to Kyiv

Pope Francis told reporters Saturday that he is considering making a trip to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Asked by a reporter on the papal plane taking Francis from Rome to Malta if he was considering an invitation made by Ukrainian political and religious authorities, Francis answered: “Yes, it is on the table.” He gave no further details.

The pope didn’t mention Russian President Vladimir Putin by name during his remarks, but said “some potentate” had unleashed the threat of nuclear war on the world in an “infantile and destructive aggression” under the guise of “anachronist claims of nationalistic interests.”

“We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past,” Francis added.

Apr 02, 8:40 am
Zelenskyy says Russian forces are leaving behind ‘a catastrophic situation’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleneksyy claimed Russian forces are leaving behind “a catastrophic situation” and that they are mining the entire territory.

“Occupiers are retreating in the north of our country, slowly but noticeably. Somewhere they are pushed away with fighting, somewhere they are leaving their positions themselves. After their withdrawal, the situation is catastrophic, and there is so much danger,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy then claimed, “First of all, airstrikes might continue. Secondly, they are mining the entire territory, houses, hardware, even the bodies of those killed. There are so many tripwires and other dangers.”

He warned that people returning to these territories should be careful as “it’s still not possible to return to normal life as it used to be, even at the territories that we are taking back after the fighting. We need wait till our land is de-mined, wait till we are able to assure you that there won’t be new shelling.”

Zelenskyy claimed Ukrainians have been able to evacuate 6,266 people, including 3,071 residents of Mariupol. He also said they are discussing the evacuation of the injured and killed military personnel and civilians, with Turkey acting as an intermediary.

Zelenskyy said Russian troops are preparing for new “powerful strikes” in the east and warned that Russia is trying to conscript people in Crimea.

Zelenskyy, speaking in Russian, addressed the Russian people, asking them to, “Warn every conscript and their parents that we don’t need more killed people here. Take care of your children so that they don’t turn into evil. Don’t let them go to the army. Do whatever you can to let them live at home, at their home.”

Apr 01, 6:11 pm
US cancels ballistic missile test to avoid escalation with Russia

A U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile test that was initially postponed in early March to avoid “misinterpretation” by Russia was recently canceled, the Department of the Air Force said Friday.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin originally delayed the routine test flight of an LGM-30G Minuteman III missile after Russia put its nuclear deterrent forces on a state of heightened alert.

“The launch had been previously delayed due to an overabundance of caution to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and was cancelled for the same reason,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Our next planned test flight is later this year. The Department is confident in the readiness of the strategic forces of the United States.”

Apr 01, 4:23 pm
Kyiv suburb Bucha liberated from Russian forces, mayor says

Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, has been liberated from Russian forces, its mayor declared.

“March 31 will go down in the history of our settlement and the entire territorial community as a day of liberation from the Russian occupiers by our armed forces,” Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk said in a video posted to Facebook Friday. “Today I state that this day is joyful and it is a great victory of our armed forces in Kyiv region.”

Last week, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces battling toward Kyiv were able to partially take several northwestern suburbs, including Bucha.

Apr 01, 3:56 pm
Over 6,200 evacuated from southeastern Ukraine Friday

Over 6,200 people were evacuated from regions in southeastern Ukraine Friday by buses and private cars, according to Ukrainian officials.

In the Donetsk region, 3,071 people were evacuated from the besieged port city of Mariupol, officials said.

Earlier Friday, Mariupol officials said an estimated 100,000 civilians remained trapped in the city despite repeated efforts by Ukrainian officials to evacuate them.

Additionally, over 1,700 people were evacuated from the Luhansk region, and over 1,400 from the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukrainian officials said.

Apr 01, 1:20 pm
Ukraine, Russia hold talks on proposed security guarantee treaty

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators continued peace talks virtually on Friday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a chief negotiator for the Ukrainians, told ABC News.

“On the table is the key document proposed by the Ukrainian delegation – the Treaty on Security Guarantees,” Podolyak said. This proposed agreement provides for the possibility of exit from the war and the prevention of future conflicts.

Ukraine proposed a new system of security guarantees similar to NATO’s collective defense clause which would legally require “guarantor countries” to provide arms and impose a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine, in the event of an attack.

Both sides are working on the legal wording of the basic provisions of the contract, Podolyak said.

“The discussion is extremely difficult, since the negotiating positions of the parties are strongly influenced by the daily change in the military situation on all lines of contact,” Podolyak said.

Apr 01, 12:53 pm
Red Cross unable to reach Mariupol, will attempt again Saturday

An International Committee of the Red Cross team that was on its way to Mariupol to facilitate the safe passage of civilians on Friday had to return to Zaporizhzhia. The ICRC said arrangements and conditions made it impossible to proceed.

The ICRC team, which consists of three vehicles and nine personnel, said it will try again on Saturday.

The ICRC said it is critical that parties respect the agreements and provide the necessary conditions and security guarantees, and that it plans to accompany the convoy out of Mariupol to another Ukrainian city.

Apr 01, 9:44 am
Radiation around Chernobyl plant is normal: IAEA director general

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, said on Friday that radiation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is normal.

“General radiation around the plant is quite normal,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said at a press conference.

There have been instances of relatively higher levels of localized radiation, which may have been caused by heavy vehicles moving in the area, the IAEA said.

The IAEA said it does not have any evidence that people were possibly contaminated.

Russia has not discussed its withdrawal from Chernobyl with the IAEA, the organization said.

“On the issue of radiation we are in consultation with the Ukrainian side,” Grossi said.

Grossi repeatedly stressed the unpredictability of working in a war zone, saying things may not have gone strictly according to plan.

“In case there was an emergency taking place, we are setting up a mechanism whereby we can send a team to assist almost immediately,” Grossi said.

-ABC News’ Guy Davies

Apr 01, 9:22 am
ICRC says a large humanitarian convoy is trying to get to Mariupol

The International Committee of the Red Cross is leading a large convoy on Friday to help civilians escape the hellscape that has become of Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol, according to Crystal Wells, a spokesperson for the Geneva-based humanitarian organization.

“This effort has been and remains extremely complex,” Wells told ABC News in a statement. “There are a lot of moving parts and not all the details are yet in place to ensure that this happens in a safe manner today. We remain hopeful, we are in action moving toward Mariupol, but it’s not yet clear that this will happen today.”

According to Wells, the three ICRC vehicles, carrying nine ICRC staff, are leading vehicles from other organizations — “potentially 54 buses.” Images circulating on social media show other civilian vehicles joining the convoy.

“Our presence puts a humanitarian marker on this movement of people, giving the convoy additional protection and reminding all sides of the civilian, non-military, humanitarian nature of the operation,” Wells said. “If and when it does happen, the ICRC’s role as a neutral intermediary will be to lead the convoy out from Mariupol to another city in Ukraine. We’re unable to confirm which city at the moment as this is something the parties must agree to.”

The situation in Mariupol “is horrendous and deteriorating, and it’s now a humanitarian imperative that people be allowed to leave, and aid supplies be allowed in,” according to Wells.

“We’re running out of adjectives to describe the horrors that residents in Mariupol have suffered,” she added. “The people of Mariupol have suffered weeks of heavy fighting, with dwindling water, food and medical supplies.”

The ICRC has had “open communication channels” with both Ukraine and Russia, Wells said, “but ensuring that all the details are agreed upon and well understood by all sides, and then communicated down the chain of command, and to the residents of Mariupol, is a challenge, and one that continues to take time to sort out.”

“The details that we insist are cemented in place include the exact safe passage route, its exact start time, and its duration,” she noted. “We have to be certain that a cease-fire holds. We have to be certain that this humanitarian convoy can safely move through military checkpoints.”

-ABC News’ Brian Hartman

Apr 01, 8:58 am
Ukrainian forces retake 2 villages south of Chernihiv, says UK

Ukrainian forces have retaken the villages of Sloboda and Lukashivka to the south of Chernihiv, located along one of the main supply routes between the northern city and Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said Friday in an intelligence update.

“Ukraine has also continued to make successful but limited counter attack to the east and north east of Kyiv,” the ministry added. “Both Chernihiv and Kyiv have been subjected to continued air and missile strikes despite Russian claims of reducing activity in these areas.”

Apr 01, 7:19 am
Ukraine declines to comment on Russia’s accusation of attacking oil depot

Ukraine has declined to comment on Russia’s accusation that it carried out airstrikes on an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod early Friday.

“We do not comment on Russian fakes,” Volodymy Fityo, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ground Forces, told ABC News. “And we do not comment on the words of Russian officials who speak under the influence of substances.”

Earlier Friday, Belgorod Oblast Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement via Telegram that two low-flying Ukrainian helicopters had entered Russian airspace and fired on an oil depot in Belgorod city, setting the building ablaze.

The depot run by Russian energy giant Roseneft is located about 21 miles north of the border with Ukraine. Two employees were injured but are expected to survive, while all other staff have been safely evacuated from the building, according to Gladkov.

Verified videos circulating online show an attack on an oil depot in Belgorod and the aftermath.

-ABC News’ James Longman

Apr 01, 6:43 am
Over 4.1 million refugees have fled Ukraine: UNHCR

More than 4.1 million people have been forced to flee Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The tally from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) amounts to just over 9.2% of Ukraine’s population — which the World Bank counted at 44 million at the end of 2020 — on the move across borders in 36 days.

More than half of the refugees crossed into neighboring Poland, UNHCR figures show.

-ABC News’ Zoe Magee

Apr 01, 5:48 am
Russia accuses Ukraine of striking oil depot in Russian city of Belgorod

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out airstrikes on the Russian city of Belgorod early Friday.

Belgorod Oblast Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement via Telegram that two low-flying Ukrainian helicopters entered Russian airspace and fired on an oil depot in Belgorod city, setting the building ablaze. Ukraine has yet to comment on the claim.

The depot run by Russian energy giant Roseneft is located about 21 miles north of the border with Ukraine. Two employees were injured but are expected to survive, while all other staff have been safely evacuated from the building, according to Gladkov.

Security camera footage circulating online and verified by ABC News shows an attack on an oil depot in Belgorod. In the video, two airstrikes can be seen in the distance, with a helicopter flying nearby.

Another verified video circulating online shows oil tanks on fire and a massive cloud of smoke billowing from the depot.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that at least two businesses in the village of Severny, just north of Belgorod, were also damaged by an early morning airstrike.

It remains unclear who is responsible for the attacks.

Belgorod, a city of more than 300,000, is about 50 miles north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which Russian forces have shelled heavily in recent weeks.

-ABC News’ Victoria Beaule

Apr 01, 4:32 am
100,000 remain trapped in Mariupol despite evacuation efforts, official says

An estimated 100,000 civilians remain trapped in Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol despite repeated efforts by Ukrainian officials to evacuate them, according to Petro Andryushenko, adviser to Mariupol’s mayor.

Andryushenko told ABC News on Friday morning that Russia has not confirmed any humanitarian corridors leading out of Mariupol since announcing a localized cease-fire on Thursday to allow civilians to be evacuated.

A convoy of 45 evacuation buses that were sent to Mariupol have yet to reach the southeastern port city because it remains under Russian lockdown, according to Andryushenko, who noted that some people managed to escape by foot or in their own cars.

-ABC News’ Oleksii Pshemysky

Mar 31, 7:15 pm
Some Russian troops possibly heading to Belarus to regroup: Pentagon

Russian troops that have begun to withdraw from the ground effort against Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv seem to be heading north to Belarus to regroup before rejoining the fight, the Pentagon said Thursday.

“The best assessment we have – and it’s an assessment at this early stage – is that they’re going to be repositioned probably into Belarus to be refit and resupplied, and used elsewhere in Ukraine,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.

It’s not clear where they might go, but the Donbas region is one candidate, Kirby said.

Roughly 20% of the Russian forces that were designated to move on Kyiv are now repositioning, several U.S. officials said.

Kirby said Russian forces that are apparently leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant also seem to be heading toward Belarus, though noted that “indications are not completely clear at this time.”

The Pentagon assesses these troops are leaving to “refit and resupply,” and not due to a health hazard or other crisis at Chernobyl, Kirby said.

-ABC News’ Matthew Seyle

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