Russia expands attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets after frontline setback, Britain says | TNZT News

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Russia has expanded its attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure in the past week after setbacks on the battlefield and is likely to expand its target range further, Britain said on Sunday, as a Russian music icon launched a new critique of the war.

Ukrainians who returned to the northeastern area recaptured in the lightning advance from Kiev earlier this month were searching for their dead as Russian artillery and airstrikes continued to pound targets in eastern Ukraine.

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Five civilians have been killed in Russian attacks in the eastern region of Donetsk in the past day and several dozen residential buildings, gas pipelines and power lines were hit in Nikopol, further west, regional governors said on Sunday.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, including a power grid and a dam, have intensified over the past seven days.

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“While facing front-line setbacks, Russia has likely expanded the sites it is prepared to attack in an effort to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” it said in an intelligence update. .

Russian pop icon explodes Putin

The UK’s latest assessment comes as Alla Pugacheva, the queen of Soviet pop music, on Sunday denounced President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which she says killed soldiers for illusory purposes, taxed ordinary people and put Russia in a global pariah changed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva pose for a photo during an awards ceremony at the Moscow Kremlin in 2014. Pugacheva, hugely popular since Soviet times, says she wants to be added to Russia’s list of foreign agents in solidarity. be placed with her designated spouse. (Alexei Druzhinin and Sputnik via The The New Zealand Times)

Since the February 24 invasion, Russia has cracked down on dissent, with fines for artists who make anti-war commentary. State television casts critics as traitors to the motherland.

Pugacheva, 73, a Soviet and post-Soviet icon who is probably Russia’s most famous woman, requested that Russia also classify her as a “foreign agent” after her husband, 46-year-old TV comedian Maxim Galkin, died at 16. Sept. included in the state list.

“I ask you to include me in the ranks of foreign agents of my beloved country because I stand in solidarity with my husband,” Pugacheva said on Instagram, which is banned in Russia.

Pugacheva said her husband was a patriot who wanted a prosperous country with peace, freedom and an “end to the death of our boys for illusory purposes”.

Such penetrating criticism from one of Russia’s most famous people – known from generation to generation for hits like the 1982 song Million scarlet roses and the 1978 movie The woman who sings – is rare and potentially dangerous in modern Russia.

It also indicates the level of concern within the wider Russian elite about the war.

Mass Grave in Izium

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address on Saturday that authorities had found a mass grave containing the bodies of 17 soldiers in Izium, some of which he said showed signs of torture.

Residents of Izium have searched for dead relatives at a forest grave where aid workers began exhuming bodies last week. The causes of death for those on the grave have not yet been determined, although residents say some were killed in an air raid.

VIEW | Ukraine exhumes hundreds of bodies in mass cemetery in recently reclaimed city:

Ukraine exhumes hundreds of bodies in mass cemetery in newly reclaimed city

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details. Ukraine has exhumed more than 400 bodies at a mass cemetery in the reclaimed city of Izyum. The bodies are those of soldiers, civilians and children, some showing signs of torture.

Ukrainian officials last week said they had found 440 bodies in the forests near Izium. They said most of the dead were civilians and the causes of death had not been established.

The Kremlin has not commented on the discovery of the graves, but in the past Moscow has repeatedly denied that it deliberately attacked civilians or committed atrocities.

Volodymyr Kolesnyk made his way among graves and trees at the site where excavations were underway, trying to match numbers on wooden crosses with names on a neatly handwritten list to locate relatives he believes were killed in an air raid in the early days of the war. Kolesnyk said he got the list from a local funeral home that dug the graves.

“They buried the bodies in sacks, without coffins, without anything. I wasn’t allowed to come here at first. She” [Russians] said it was mined and asked to wait,” he told Reuters on Saturday.

Oleksandr Ilienkov, the head of the prosecutor’s office for the Kharkiv region, told Reuters on Friday at the site: “One of the (found) bodies has evidence of a ligature pattern and a rope around the neck, hands tied,” adding that there were signs of violent causes of death for other bodies, but they would undergo forensic examination.

A Ukrainian soldier on Saturday identifies the body of a Ukrainian soldier in a recaptured area near the border with Russia in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. (Leo Correa/The The New Zealand Times)

The mayor of Izium said on Sunday that work on the site would take another two weeks.

“The excavation is underway, the graves are being excavated and all the remains are being transported to Kharkov,” Valery Marchenko told state television.

‘torture cellar’

In the village of Kozacha Lopan, about 28 miles (45 km) north of Kharkov and just three miles from the Russian border, a Reuters reporter was taken to a filthy basement with rooms fitted with iron bars, which local officials say had served as a makeshift prison during the occupation. The mayor of the local district Vyacheslav Zadorenko said the rooms had been used as a “torture cellar” to detain civilians. Reuters was unable to verify those accounts.

Elsewhere in the region, residents of towns recaptured after six months of Russian occupation returned with a mixture of joy and trepidation.

VIEW | Mass grave in the recaptured Ukrainian city of Izium, with believed to be at least 440 bodies:

Mass grave in recaptured Ukrainian city of Izium, believed to contain at least 440 bodies

David Scheffer, a former diplomat who served as the first US ambassador for war crimes, discusses the mass graves found in Ukraine and what the discovery could mean for the ongoing investigation into possible war crimes.

“I still have the feeling that at any moment a grenade could explode or a plane could fly over,” said Nataliia Yelistratova, who traveled 50 miles (80 km) by train from Kharkiv to her hometown of Balakliia with her husband and daughter to find her. block of flats intact, but scarred by shelling.

“I’m still scared to be here,” she said after discovering shrapnel in a wall.

Putin did not respond to the allegations, but on Friday he brushed off Ukraine’s swift counteroffensive and that Moscow would respond more forcefully if its forces were put under further pressure.

Such repeated threats have raised concerns that he might at some point turn to small nuclear weapons or chemical warfare.

A Ukrainian soldier walks out of a basement that Ukrainian authorities say was used as a torture cell during the Russian occupation, in the recaptured village of Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine on Saturday. (Leo Correa/The The New Zealand Times)

When asked what he would say to Putin if he considers using such weapons, US President Joe Biden replied: “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of war differently than it has since World War II. ” A fragment of commentary in an interview with TNZT program 60 minutes was released Saturday by TNZT.

Some military analysts have said Russia could also stage a nuclear incident at Zaporizhzhya, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant owned by Russia but run by Ukrainian personnel.

Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of shelling around the factory that has damaged buildings and disrupted power lines needed to keep it cool and safe. The plant was reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid after one of the power lines was repaired, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Saturday. However, it warned that the situation at the factory “remains precarious”.

During a visit to the UK on Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa “remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine” and that the country will continue to provide aid.

Trudeau, in London for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, will meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Sunday evening.

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