The Ukrainian crisis roundup

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April 3 (Reuters) – Ukraine said its forces had retaken all areas around Kyiv, while the mayor of Bucha near the capital said 300 residents had been killed during a month-long occupation by Russian troops. 

FIGHTING

* Russia missiles struck “critical infrastructure”, most likely a fuel depot, near Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa but there were no casualties, officials in the city said.

* Russian naval forces continue to blockade the Ukrainian coast on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, preventing resupply by sea, British military intelligence said.

*Russian troops are “amassing their forces” to concentrate military attacks in eastern Ukraine because they failed in other areas, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s spokesman has said.Sergey Nikiforov told the BBC’s Sunday Morning show that Vladimir Putin’s soldiers are “regrouping” and preparing to “encircle our military in Donbas”.

* Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a number of other authorities have accused Russian troops of leaving behind mines and other explosives in their retreat of the Kyiv region. In Irpin, crews have found 643 explosive objects.

*Several Russian rockets have hit Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, Anton Gerashchenko, an aide to the country’s interior ministry, said on Sunday. Gerashchenko said in a social media post that local authorities had reported the attack.

CIVILIANS

* Work on evacuating people with the help of Red Cross from Mariupol will continue on Sunday with buses attempting to come close to the besieged city, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

*Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed on Saturday in Ukraine’s Mariupol, a city whose fate he had documented for many years, according to the *Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s information agency and a colleague.

Work on evacuating people with the help of Red Cross from Mariupol will continue on Sunday with buses attempting to come close to the besieged city, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

*The European Union accused Russian troops of committing atrocities in the Kyiv region after the mayor of the town of Bucha said 300 residents had been killed during a month-long occupation by Russian forces.

PEACE TALKS

* Russia said peace talks with Ukraine had not progressed enough for a leaders’ meeting and that Moscow’s position on the status of Crimea and Donbas remained unchanged. Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia had told Ukrainian television on Saturday that the draft deal was advanced enough to allow consultations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

QUOTES

* “We were sitting in the cellar for two weeks. There was food but no light, no heating to warm up,” a 66-year old man called Vasili in the town of Bucha, describing life before Russian troops departed. “We put the water on candles to warm it … We slept in felt boots.” 

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