While Boutcha’s images continue to make an impression internationally, the consequences are being felt in Russia. In fact, Moscow was sanctioned by a UN vote this Thursday, on day 43 of the conflict.
As a seemingly inevitable battle in Donbass draws near, Ukrainian authorities are speeding up the evacuation of civilians as much as possible. At the same time, Russia admits for the first time to suffer “significant” losses.
• Evacuation trains bombed in the Donbass
As the Donbass prepares for a major Russian offensive, the civilian population still there tries to flee. To achieve this, some decide to take the train. However, the director of the Ukrainian railways, Olexander Kamishin, assured that the Russian bombings blocked the evacuations.
“The enemy carried out air strikes on the railway next to the Barbenkovo station, Donetsk line. It is the only railway exit route from cities such as Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Liman, which is under Ukrainian control,” this official wrote in the Telegram message. adding that three trains were blocked in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
At the same time, the Ukrainian army is preparing to defend its positions in the east of the country, fearing that the authorities will be overwhelmed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kouleba, thus asked NATO to give them weapons quickly. “Either help us now, and I’m talking days, not weeks, or your help will come too late,” he warned Thursday.
For their part, the pro-Russian authorities announced that some 5,000 people died in Mariupol and that “between 60 and 70% of the housing stock was destroyed.”
• Research groups in Boutcha, Hostomel, Irpin and Borodyanka
Answers soon? Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced in a tweet that investigators were present in Boutcha, Borodyanka, Irpin and Hostolomel to “document all war crimes of the occupiers.” This news comes as 26 bodies were discovered on Thursday in the rubble of buildings in Borodyanka.
The UN should soon be involved in the investigations. In fact, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths, was in Boutcha on Thursday, and assured that an investigation into the massacre of civilians was “the next step”.
This dossier makes negotiations between Moscow and kyiv very difficult. Turkey’s foreign minister, who is overseeing the talks, said the images of Boutcha had “overshadowed the negotiations”. The two camps, however, remain willing to meet in Istanbul to discuss.
• Russia suspended from the UN Human Rights Council
After a vote on Thursday, The UN General Assembly suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council on war crimes charges pointing to Moscow. A rare procedure, since only Libya in 2011 had suffered the same fate. Only 24 countries voted against, including China, against 93 in favor and 58 abstentions.
Ukraine was quick to react to this news, saying that it was “grateful.” “War criminals have no place in the UN bodies designed to protect human rights,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba reacted on Twitter.
Russia assures that the procedure was “illegal” and that it aims to “ostentatiously punish a sovereign member state of the UN that pursues an independent domestic and foreign policy.”
• Moscow admits big losses for the first time
An important first. This Thursday, in an interview with the British channel Sky News, the spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged that the Russian army suffered “significant losses” as part of the offensive in Ukraine.
“It is a great tragedy for us,” said this close friend of Vladimir Putin.
However, it remains difficult to get a precise figure for the death toll on the Russian side in the conflict. In fact, experts say that the figures revealed by the Ministry of Defense underestimate the balance, when the Ukrainian authorities tend to overestimate it.
• Ursula von der Leyen is expected to arrive in kyiv on Friday
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will travel to kyiv this Friday to meet with Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by the head of European Union diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
“The Ukrainian people deserve our solidarity. That is why I will go to kyiv tomorrow (Friday),” the leader told a news conference in Stockholm on Thursday. “I want to send a message of unwavering support to the Ukrainian people and their brave struggle for our common values,” he said.
This trip comes as the European Union announced new sanctions against Moscow. An embargo against Russian coal and the closure of European ports to Russian ships were thus validated on Thursday.