There have been reports of alleged war crimes from Ukraine following the withdrawal of Russian troops from areas around the capital Kyiv.
With Russian forces expected to launch a renewed offensive in the disputed eastern region of the Donbass soon, Moscow admitted for the first time that it had suffered “significant” casualties in the war so far.
Some residents are also returning to Kyiv as authorities continue to document the alleged atrocities.
Here’s the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
Borodyanka ‘more terrible’ than Buka, says Zelensky
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in the city of Borodyanka, near the capital Kyiv, was “significantly more dire” than in nearby Buka, where the deliberate killing of civilians by the Russian military has been widely condemned.
“The work to clear the rubble in Borodianka has begun. It’s even more dire there. The Russian occupiers are suffering even more,” Zelensky said in a video statement.
He did not provide any further details or evidence that Russia was responsible for civilian deaths in the city.
“And what will happen when the world finds out the whole truth about what the Russian army did in Mariupol?” Mr Zelensky added.
“There, on almost every street, the world saw in Buka and other cities of the Kyiv region after the withdrawal of Russian troops.”
Local officials said more than 300 people were killed and about 50 of them killed by Russian forces in Buka, 35 kilometers northwest of Kyiv.
Moscow has denied targeting civilians and said images of dead civilians were staged to justify more sanctions against Moscow and derail peace talks by the Ukrainian government.
Some locals return to Kyiv
Some Ukrainians have returned to Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew from the city’s outskirts, but officials have warned people not to return to the capital for fear of a new Russian offensive.
For many of those who arrived at the busy main train station in central Kyiv on Thursday, the desire to see elderly parents or continue their jobs outweighed any safety concerns.
Some workers returned without their families, leaving their wives and children in the relative safety of western Ukraine.
Others were racing to get more of their belongings and cars before heading out again.
There were signs of a return to something more similar to normal life in Kyiv. Some played chess in the park as the air raid siren sounded.
Joggers went out for their morning run, women walked with their dogs and church bells called the believers to the morning service.
Some said they had returned to stay, at least for now.
Meanwhile, residents of nearby villages have assessed the damage to their homes.
Europe correspondent Isabella Higgins sent this report from the badly damaged village of Andreevka:
Russia expresses grief over ‘great tragedy’ of soldiers’ deaths
Russia has given its most disappointing assessment of its invasion of Ukraine so far, describing the “tragedy” of economic losses from mounting troops and sanctions.
Evacuations from Ukraine’s eastern cities ahead of a potentially major Russian offensive there.
Moscow has previously admitted that its attack did not proceed as quickly as it wanted, but the latest remarks from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov went beyond that.
“We have suffered a significant loss of troops,” he told Sky News.
“This is a great tragedy for us.”
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Russia is facing its toughest economic situation in three decades due to unprecedented Western sanctions.
In yet another blow to Russia, the US Congress removed its “most favored nation” trade status.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were regrouping to try to gain full control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been partially held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
UN suspends Russia from top human rights body
The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over allegations of horrific rights violations by Russian troops in Ukraine, which many countries have described as a war crime.
This is a rare move, given that Russia is one of five veto-regional members of the UN Security Council.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the vote “a historic moment”, telling the assembly: “We have collectively sent a strong message that the suffering of the victims and survivors will not be ignored” and called Russia “for no reason”. must be held accountable for the “unjust, unconscious war”.
Russia’s deputy ambassador Gennady Kuzmin said that Russia had already withdrawn from the council before the assembly action, apparently in anticipation of the outcome.
By withdrawing, council spokesman Rolando Gómez said that Russia refrained from being stripped of observer status in the rights body.
Mr Kuzmin said Russia considered adopting “an illegitimate and politically motivated move” by a group of countries with “short-term political and economic interests”, which he accused of “massive violations of human rights”. .
The United States launched a campaign to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council in the wake of videos and photographs of civilian bodies scattered on the streets in Buka after Russian troops withdrew.
The deaths have sparked a global revolt and calls for tougher sanctions on Russia, which has denied that its troops were responsible.
abc / wire