Ukraine preparing for ‘important battles’ against Russian forces

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KRAMATORSK: Ukraine is preparing for “ important battles” against Moscow’s forces in the east of the country, officers in Kyiv said, as Pope Francis on Sunday called for an Easter armistice to end the war.

Evacuations continued from Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine, where a bullet strike on Friday killed 52 people at a road station, while an field in the central megacity of Dnipro was fully destroyed in fresh shelling on Sunday.

President Volodymyr Zelensky again condemned atrocities against civilians, and after speaking with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said they agreed “ that all perpetrators of war crimes must be linked and penalized”.

Ukraine’s prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova said the country was examining the contended guilt of 500 leading Russian officers for thousands of war crimes, including President Vladimir Putin.

Pope Francis meanwhile called for an Easter ceasefire in Ukraine to pave the way for peace through “ real concession”. “ Let the Easter armistice begin. But not to give further munitions and pick up the combat again — no! — a armistice that will lead to peace, through real concession,” he told a public mass at Saint Peter’s Square.
The pontiff denounced a war where “ defenceless civilians” suffered “ heinous butcheries and atrocious atrocity”.

But Russia’s Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a crucial Putin supporter, issued his own appeal against Russia’s “ adversaries”. “ In this delicate period for our motherland, may the Lord help each of us to unite, including around power,” he said.

“ This is how true solidarity will crop in our people, as well as an capability to push back external and internal adversaries, and to make a life with further good, verity and love.”

The prayers came after Zelensky said Kyiv was readying for a Russian rush.

“ Sorely, in parallel we see the medications for important battles, some people say decisive bones, in the east,” he said on Saturday at a press conference with visiting Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

“ We’re ready to fight and to look in resemblant to end this war through tactfulness.”

The UN on Sunday said mercenary casualties had been recorded in Ukraine to date, with killed and injured.

Ukraine said Kremlin propaganda had laid the root for the bloody crusade, criminating Russian media of long sowing abomination towards Ukrainians.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba cited mercenary killings in the city of Bucha outside of Kyiv after bodies were discovered as the Russian army retreated from the area.

“ Bucha didn’t be in one day,” he said on Twitter on Sunday. “ For numerous times, Russian political elites and propaganda have been inciting abomination, dehumanising Ukrainians, nurturing Russian superiority and laying ground for these atrocities.”

The commentary came on the heels of a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the rearmost Western leader to visit the capital in a show of support.

Hailing the country’s response to the Russian irruption, Johnson offered Ukraine armoured vehicles andanti-ship dumdums, pivotal to halting the Russian nonmilitary siege of Black Sea anchorages, to help insure that the country will “ noway be raided again”.

At least two bodies were plant inside a manhole at a petrol station on a motorway outside Kyiv on Sunday, an AFP journalist saw. The bodies appeared to be wearing a blend of mercenary and military apparel.

A distrait woman appeared at the manhole and gazed outside, before breaking down and clawing the earth. She wailed “ my son, my son”.

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