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‘Sickening’ atrocities in Bucha, almost 70% of Russian troops near kyiv withdrew: Pentagon update Day 40

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The Pentagon provided daily updates on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Ukraine’s efforts to resist.

Here are highlights of what a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Monday as of Day 40:

Almost 70% of Russian troops near kyiv have withdrawn

According to the official, about two-thirds of the Russian forces deployed against Kyiv have retreated to Belarus. That’s up from around 20% at the end of last week.

Prior to the repositioning, nearly 20 Russian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) were charging into kyiv from the north and northwest, with each group consisting of 700 to 900 troops. About 13 of those BTGs are now either in Belarus or en route there, the official said.

The Pentagon believes these forces will be resupplied and possibly reinforced in the north before returning to Ukraine to fight elsewhere.

“Our best assessment – and it is only an assessment – is that they will be applied in the eastern part of the country, in the Donbass region,” the official said.

The United States also saw Russian troops leaving the Ukrainian city of Sumy heading north to the Russian border, according to the official.

Despite these moves, the official said the “vast majority” of the more than 125 BTGs that Russia has committed to the invasion are still inside Ukraine.

‘Sickening’ Russian atrocities in Bucha

The official said that while the United States cannot independently verify Ukrainian allegations of Russian atrocities committed against civilians in Bucha, a suburb northwest of kyiv recently retaken by Ukrainian troops, there is no no reason to doubt it.

“It’s sickening, it’s disgusting,” the official said, adding that the allegations should be included in the growing list of alleged Russian war crimes to be investigated.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the city, where he accused Russia of genocide. Ukrainian officials said more than 400 civilians were found dead there, many with their hands tied behind their backs, shot at close range.

“We have long said that the Russians would be brutal in their execution of this war. They have been,” the senior US defense official said. “We said more than a week ago that we clearly believe the evidence points to war crimes committed by Russian forces. And what we’re seeing from Bucha certainly reinforces those concerns.”

President Joe Biden blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview with reporters on Monday.

“You may remember I was criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said. “Well, the truth, you saw what happened to Bucha…he’s a war criminal.”

Russia moves airstrikes

In addition to moving some of its troops away from the capital, Russia has also refocused its long-range strikes elsewhere, mainly in the east and south of the country, the official said.

“Obviously they’re still hitting Mariupol, but we haven’t seen the same level of airstrike activity on Kyiv,” the official said. “So there has been a declination in recent days.”

Russia has fired more than 1,400 missiles against Ukraine since the start of the invasion.

Military aid rushed to Ukraine

The United States has continued to rush small arms, anti-tank missiles and aircraft and medical supplies into Ukraine, and has coordinated shipments from half a dozen other donor countries over the past 24 hours, according to the senior defense official.

“Everything we do regarding Ukraine is accelerated – everything,” the official said.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

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