Ukrainian forensic experts have so far exhumed 146 bodies, mostly of civilians, at the mass cemetery near Izium in eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said Monday. Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said two children were among the exhumed bodies. The Kremlin denies allegations that Russian troops committed war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkov province.
Ukraine has recaptured a village near the eastern city of Lysychansk, in a small but symbolic victory that means Russia no longer has full control over the Luhansk region, one of the main war targets of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said Ukraine’s armed forces have “complete control” over Bilohorivka. ‘It’s a suburb of Lysychansk. Soon we’ll be chasing these bastards out of there with a broom,” he said. “Step by step, inch by inch, we will free our entire country from the invaders.”
The leaders of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic began to panic, claimed Haidai. There have been numerous reports of looting squads arresting men on the street and sending them to the military, while blocking mobile communications and the internet to prevent people from hearing about Moscow’s military misadventures, he claimed.
The leader of the Moscow-backed government in Donbas has called for urgent referendums on the region becoming part of Russia. Denis Pushilin, head of the Moscow-based separatist government in Donetsk, called on his fellow separatist leader in Luhansk to join their efforts to prepare a referendum on joining Russia. “Our actions must be synchronized,” Pushilin said in a video posted on social media on Monday.
The pace of the advance of the Ukrainian troops in the northeast had sent Russian troops into “panic”, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his late-night speech. Zelenskiy said he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas. “The speed at which our troops move. The speed in restoring normal life,” he said.
Russian forces attacked the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region early Monday morning but the reactors are not damaged and are operating normally, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear company Energoatom said. Shortly after midnight, an explosion occurred 300 meters away from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings, Energoatom said in a statement. The attack also damaged a nearby hydroelectric power station and transmission lines.
Ukrainian officials say 200 Russian soldiers were killed in a strike on Sunday when a missile hit a former bus shelter where they were stationed, in the frontline town of Svatove. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia has not sent reinforcements. It is now under pressure and vulnerable to another counter-offensive, the think tank said.
Ukrainian armed forces said troops had crossed the Oskil River this weekend. another important milestone for the counter-offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkov. The river flows south into the Siversky Donets, which meanders through the Donbas, the main center of the Russian invasion.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could boost grain prices by 7% in the long run and increase greenhouse gas emissions as production expands in other parts of the world to make up for any shortages, a study published in Nature Food found. Russia and Ukraine together export about 28% of the world’s wheat supply.
A court in rebel-controlled Luhansk has sentenced two employees of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to 13 years in prison for treason. OSCE Chairman Zbigniew Rau condemned the “unjustified” detention of the mission’s members since the outbreak of the war, calling it “nothing but pure political theatre… inhumane and abhorrent”.