Retreating Russians leave their comrades’ bodies behind – The Denver Post



By ADAM SCHRECK and VASILISA STEPANENKO

LYMAN, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops abandoned a key Ukrainian city so quickly that they left the bodies of their comrades in the streets, providing more evidence Tuesday of Moscow’s latest military defeat as it struggles to hold on to four regions of Ukraine. illegally annexed last week.

Meanwhile, Russia’s upper house of parliament sealed the annexations after “referendums” that Ukraine and its Western allies have dismissed as fraudulent.

Responding to the move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially ruled out talks with Russia, declaring that negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin are impossible following his decision to take control of the regions.

The Kremlin responded by saying it would wait for Ukraine to agree to sit down for talks, stressing that this may not happen until a new Ukrainian president takes office.

“We will wait for the current president to change his position or wait for a future Ukrainian president who will revise his position in the interest of the Ukrainian people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Despite the Kremlin’s apparent political bravado, the picture on the ground underscored the mess Putin faces amid Ukraine’s advances and efforts to establish new Russian borders.

Over the weekend, Russian troops withdrew from Lyman, a strategic eastern city that the Russians had used as a logistics and transport hub, to avoid encirclement by Ukrainian forces. The liberation of the city gave Ukraine an important vantage point to push its offensive deeper into Russian-held territory.

Two days later, an Associated Press team reporting from Lyman saw at least 18 bodies of Russian soldiers still on the ground. The Ukrainian army appeared to have collected the bodies of their comrades after fierce battles for control of the city, but they did not immediately remove those of the Russians.

“We fight for our land, for our children, so that our people can live better, but all this comes at a very high price,” said a Ukrainian soldier who goes by the nom de guerre Rud.

Speaking late Tuesday in his overnight video address, Zelenskyy said dozens of settlements had been retaken “by the Russian pseudo-referendum just this week” in the four annexed regions. In the Kherson region, he listed eight villages that Ukrainian forces regained, “and this is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop.”

The deputy head of the Russian-backed regional administration in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told Russian TV that Ukrainian troops made “certain advances” from the north and were attacking the region from other sides as well. He said they were stopped by Russian forces and suffered heavy losses.

As Kiev pushed back on its offensive, Russian forces launched more rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities.

Several rockets hit Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, damaging infrastructure and causing power outages. Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said one person was killed. To the south, Russian missiles hit the city of Nikopol.

After retaking Lyman’s control of the Donetsk region, Ukrainian forces pushed further east and may have reached the border of neighboring Luhansk region as they advanced toward Kremina, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in the latest analysis. . .

On Monday, Ukrainian forces also scored significant gains in the south, raising flags over the villages of Arkhanhelske, Myroliubivka, Khreshchenivka, Mykhalivka and Novovorontsovka.

In Washington, the US government announced on Tuesday that it would give Ukraine an additional $625 million in military aid, including more of the High Mobility Artillery Missile Systems, or HIMARS, that are credited with helping the the last military of Kiev. The package also includes ammunition of artillery systems and armored vehicles.

Ahead of the announcement, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Perebyinis told a conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Tuesday that Ukraine needed more weapons since Russia began a partial mobilization of draft-age men last month. He said the additional weapons would help end the war sooner, not escalate it.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the army has recruited more than 200,000 reservists as part of the partial mobilization that began two weeks ago. He said the recruits were undergoing training at 80 training grounds before being deployed to the front lines in Ukraine.

Putin’s mobilization order said up to 300,000 reservists would be called up, but he kept the door open to an even larger activation. The order sparked protests across Russia and caused tens of thousands of men to flee the country.

Russia’s efforts to incorporate the four embattled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine were made so quickly that even the exact boundaries of the territories being absorbed were unclear.

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, voted to ratify treaties to make eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions part of Russia. The lower house did so on Monday.

Putin is expected to quickly approve the annexation treaties.

In other developments, the head of the company that operates Europe’s largest nuclear power plant said Ukraine is considering restarting the Russian-occupied facility to ensure its safety as winter approaches.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Energoatom President Petro Kotin said the company could restart two of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant’s reactors within days.

“If you have a low temperature, you’ll just freeze everything inside. Security equipment will be damaged,” he said.

Fears that the war in Ukraine could cause a radiation leak at the Zaporizhzhia plant had prompted the shutdown of its remaining reactors. The plant has been damaged by shelling, prompting international alarm over the potential for a disaster.

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Adam Schreck reported from Kiev.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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