Monday October 3rd, 2022 3:30AM

Russians preparing for new push as Ukraine gathers its dead

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine gathered its dead and collected evidence of Russian atrocities on the ruined outskirts of Kyiv, as the two sides geared up Wednesday for what could become a climactic battle by Moscow's forces to seize the country's industrial east.

As the U.S. and its Western allies moved to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin in retaliation for what they branded war crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces were trying to push deep into Ukraine in the east, but the Ukrainian army was holding them back.

“The fate of our land and of our people is being decided. We know what we are fighting for. And we will do everything to win,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainian officials have stepped up calls for civilians to evacuate westward from towns near the front line ahead of the anticipated Russian offensive, and some essential services were being moved away. Local authorities in Sloviansk said postal and pension operations were clearing out and bank branches in town were shutting down.

A Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said it will take Russia as much as a month to regroup for a major push on eastern Ukraine. Almost a quarter of its battalion tactical groups in the country have been rendered “non-combat-effective” and have either withdrawn or merged with other units, the official said.

In the scarred and silent streets of Bucha and other towns around Ukraine’s capital where Russian forces withdrew over the past several days, investigators sought to document what appeared to be widespread killings of civilians. Some had evidently been shot at close range, while others were found with their hands bound or their flesh burned.

At a cemetery in Bucha, workers began to load more than 60 bodies apparently collected over the past day into a grocery shipping truck for transport to a facility for further investigation. A few of the black body bags were not fully closed. A glimpse showed the bloodied face of a young adult. Another revealed a pair of white sneakers.

More bodies were yet to be collected in Bucha, days after the Russian retreat. The Associated Press saw two in a house in a silent neighborhood. From time to time there was the muffled boom of workers clearing the town of mines and other unexploded ordnance.

In Andriivka, a village about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Kyiv, two police officers from the nearby town of Makariv came Tuesday to identify a man whose body was in a field beside tank tracks. Officers found 20 bodies in the Makariv area, Capt. Alla Pustova said.

Andriivka residents said the Russians arrived in early March and took locals' phones. Some people were detained, then released; others met unknown fates. Some described sheltering for weeks in musty, cramped cellars normally used for storing vegetables for winter.

With the sixth week of the war drawing to a close, the soldiers were gone, and Russian armored personnel carriers, a tank and other vehicles sat destroyed on both ends of the road running through the village. Several buildings were reduced to mounds of bricks and corrugated metal. Residents struggled without heat, electricity or cooking gas.

“First we were scared, now we are hysterical,” said Valentyna Klymenko, 64. She said she, her husband and two neighbors weathered the siege by sleeping on stacks of potatoes covered with a mattress and blankets. “We didn’t cry at first. Now we are crying.”

To the north of the village, in the town of Borodyanka, rescue workers combed through the rubble of apartment blocks, looking for bodies. Mine-disposal units worked nearby.

The Kremlin has insisted its troops have committed no war crimes, charging that the images out of Bucha were staged by the Ukrainians.

Thwarted in their efforts to take the capital and forced to withdraw, President Vladimir Putin’s troops, along with mercenaries, are now pouring into the Donbas, Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east.

Overnight, Russian forces attacked a fuel depot and a factory in the Dnipropetrovsk region, just west of the Donbas, authorities said. In the Luhansk region, which is part of the Donbas, Russian shelling Wednesday set fire to at least 10 multi-story buildings and a mall in the town of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor reported. There was no immediate word on deaths or injuries.

Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists in Luhansk and the other Donbas region, Donetsk, since 2014. Ahead of its Feb. 24 invasion, Moscow recognized the regions as independent states.

Ukrainian authorities have said the bodies of at least 410 civilians have been found in towns around Kyiv, and Associated Press journalists in Bucha counted dozens of corpses in civilian clothes and interviewed Ukrainians who told of witnessing atrocities.

In a video address Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy said that civilians had been tortured, shot in the back of the head, thrown down wells, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars.

He said that those who gave the orders and those who carried them out should face war crimes charges in front of a Nuremberg-type tribunal.

In reaction to the alleged atrocities, the U.S. announced sanctions against Putin’s two adult daughters and said it is toughening penalties against Russian banks. Britain banned investment in Russia and pledged to end its dependence on Russian coal and oil by the end of the year.

The European Union was also expected to take additional punitive measures, including an embargo on coal.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the aid group Doctors without Borders said its staff witnessed an attack Monday on a cancer hospital in a residential district of the southern city of Mykolaiv. The group said it was the third known strike in recent days on a hospital in the port city, whose capture is key to giving Russia control of the Black Sea coast.

It said it had no overall death toll, but its team saw one body.

The group said it also saw numerous small holes in the ground, scattered over a large area, that suggested the use of cluster bombs. Russia has denied using cluster munitions in Ukraine. The use of such weapons against civilians can be a violation of international law.

Attacks on medical facilities are deemed war crimes, and Russia has been accused of striking such sites, including a maternity hospital in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, which is part of the Donbas and has been the scene of some of the worst suffering of the war.

British defense officials said 160,000 people remained trapped by Russian airstrikes and heavy fighting in that city, without electricity, communication, medicine, heat or water.

A convoy accompanied by the Red Cross has been trying to get into Mariupol since Friday and got within 20 kilometers (12 miles), but the organization said it was too dangerous to enter.

Negotiators from Russia and Ukraine have been discussing ways to end the fighting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said those talks continue despite the war crime allegations.


Oleksandr Stashevskyi and Cara Anna in Bucha, Ukraine, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Germany seeks to boost renewable energy, cut Russian imports
The German government has presented a major package of reforms to boost the construction of renewable power as part of its efforts to meet its climate goals and become independent of energy imports from hostile nations such as Russia
12:49PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Russians preparing for new push as Ukraine gathers its dead
The Kremlin is preparing for a new combat push in Ukraine as the country gathers its dead and collects evidence of alleged Russian atrocities
12:42PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Tech stocks lead indexes lower on Wall Street; eyes on Fed
Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday and bond yields rose as investors try to estimate how quickly the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and take other steps to fight inflation
12:41PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Residents clear trees, assess damage from southern storms
Weather forecasters planned to survey damage from several possible tornadoes in Georgia and South Carolina, but said that effort could be interrupted by the potential for more storms Wednesday
11:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
US experts discuss COVID boosters for the fall and beyond
Vaccine experts are meeting to discuss the U.S. strategy for future COVID-19 booster campaigns
11:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
Yellen: Russia invasion will have 'enormous repercussions'
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a House panel that Russia’s actions in Ukraine “will have enormous economic repercussions in Ukraine and beyond.”
11:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
2 killed in Georgia, Texas as damaging storms strike South
Authorities say one person is dead in Georgia and another in Texas amid damaging storms, high winds and tornadoes around the South
8:32AM ( 4 hours ago )
Live Updates | Call for sanctions to hit closer to Putin
The top ally and chief strategist of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is welcoming reports that the U.S. might impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters — and says his “most important confidante” should be sanctioned too
8:27AM ( 4 hours ago )
China calls for probe into Bucha killings, assigns no blame
China says the reports and images of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha are “deeply disturbing" but that no one should be blamed until all facts are known
8:24AM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Live Updates | US, allies investigating potential war crimes
The U.S. Justice Department is working with European allies and prosecutors in Ukraine to investigate potential war crimes after Russia’s invasion
11:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Live Updates | US to sanction Putin's 2 adult daughters
The U.S. says it is sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters as part of a new batch of penalties on the country’s political and economic system in retaliation for its “war crimes” in Ukraine
10:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
Live Updates | Poland gives citizens crisis preparation tips
Poland’s government has issued a guide that instructs the public how to prepare for a crisis like war and what to do during attacks with weapons ranging from conventional to chemical and nuclear
9:53AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
US charges Russian oligarch, dismantles cybercrime operation
The Justice Department has charged a Russian oligarch with sanctions violations and has taken down a cybercrime operation controlled by a Russian military intelligence agency
11:55AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Supreme Court reinstates Trump-era water rule, for now
The Supreme Court has reinstated for now a Trump-era rule that curtails the power of states and Native American tribes to block pipelines and other energy projects that can pollute rivers, streams and other waterways
11:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
US premarket, global shares fall on rate hike fear, Russia
U.S. markets were on track to open lower on Wednesday, after a Federal Reserve official’s comments fueled expectations of more aggressive rate hikes and the White House announced more sanctions on Russia
8:08AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
Germany seeks to boost renewable energy, cut Russian imports
The German government has presented a major package of reforms to boost the construction of renewable power as part of its efforts to meet its climate goals and become independent of energy imports from hostile nations such as Russia
12:49PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Tech stocks lead indexes lower on Wall Street; eyes on Fed
Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday and bond yields rose as investors try to estimate how quickly the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates and take other steps to fight inflation
12:41PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Democrats accuse oil companies of 'rip off' on gas prices
House Democrats are accusing oil companies of “ripping off the American people” and putting profits before production as Americans suffer from higher gasoline prices amid the war in Ukraine
12:38PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Miami’s crypto craze on full display at bitcoin conference
Thousands of cryptocurrency enthusiasts are gathering in Miami as the city builds its reputation as one of the key locations to develop the blockchain technology despite its underdog status
12:26PM ( 27 minutes ago )
GOP-backed school board candidates win in Milwaukee suburbs
Republican-backed candidates in local school board races came out as big winners in the Milwaukee suburbs that are critical for the GOP in statewide elections, but had mixed results in other parts of battleground Wisconsin
12:07PM ( 47 minutes ago )