Ukraine: ‘Russia cannot win here’ says Russian prisoner of war
Lieutenant Colonel Maxim Krishtop, a captured Russian pilot who was shot down during a bombing raid last Sunday, begged Ukrainians for forgiveness as he admitted committing “terrible crimes” by fighting in Putin’s war. He called attempts to invade the capital Kyiv, where tensions rose sharply on Saturday, “pointless”.
Lt Col Krishtop said: “The invasion of such a huge city as Kyiv is pointless – it will lead to huge losses of life on both sides, and huge destruction.
“I urge you stop following criminal orders, stop fighting, and stop killing civilians – you can see we have already lost this war.”
Seven civilians, including one child, were killed in the village of Peremoha, in the Kyiv region, on Saturday – less than a week after the prisoner’s remarks.
The Ukrainian intelligence service accused Russian forces of firing at an evacuation convoy there.
It said in a statement: “Russians shot a column of women and children while trying to evacuate from the village of Peremoha in the Kyiv region along an agreed ‘green’ corridor.
After the attack, the occupiers forced the remnants of the column to turn back to Peremoha and are not letting them out of the village.”
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Humiliation for Putin’s regime: POW says war is already lost
Ever since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the Kremlin has denied targeting civilians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier Moscow was sending in new troops.
Speaking at a news conference, Mr Zelensky warned of fierce resistance should Putin’s army enter the capital.
He said: “If they decide to carpet bomb (Kyiv), and simply erase the history of this region … and destroy all of us, then they will enter Kyiv.
“If that’s their goal, let them come in, but they will have to live on this land by themselves.”
A tram rides through war-torn Kyiv on Saturday
The president gave an update on the number of deaths within the more than two weeks of war, saying around 1,300 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed.
Western sources estimated on Friday around 6,000 Russian soldiers were killed in the same period.
Mr Zelensky discussed the war with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who also spoke to Putin by phone in a bid to get the Kremlin to declare an immediate ceasefire.
The three-way call, however, did not bring the sought-after results, as a Kremlin statement on the 75-minute exchange made no mention of a ceasefire, and a French presidency official said: “We did not detect a willingness on Putin’s part to end the war”.
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Russia: Satellite images show large convoy redeploys near Kyiv
Meanwhile, the 40-mile convoy of tanks and armoured vehicles stalled north of the capital since last week on Friday appeared to have dispersed and been redeployed.
As per satellite images by US company Maxar Technologies, armoured units were manoeuvring in and through the city’s surrounding towns close to the Antonov airport.
Amid fears the convoy’s movement could signal a renewed push towards the capital, the Institute for the Study of War on Wednesday said Russian troops “continued concentrating in the eastern, north-western and western outskirts of Kyiv for an assault on the Ukrainian capital in the coming 24-96 hours”.
The humanitarian toll of Putin’s invasion is becoming increasingly apparent as the war advances.
Russia’s invasion is leading to the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two
More than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since a full-scale attack was launched on the country nearly three weeks ago.
More than half of the people have gone to Poland, while many others are in other EU countries thanks to the bloc’s decision to grant Ukrainians three-year residency without a visa.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said an upcoming scheme will allow Britons to take Ukrainians into their homes.
The plan would add to the already-in-place Ukraine Family Scheme.
The United Nations on Thursday warned the number of refugees could close to double in the coming days.
Matthew Saltmarsh, a spokesperson with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) near the border in Poland told Geneva journalists via videolink: “It is quite possible that planning figure of 4 million will be revised up. That wouldn’t be a surprise.”
The latest intelligence update by the UK Ministry of Defence read: “Logistical issues that have hampered the Russian advance persist, as does strong Ukrainian resistance.
“Russia is likely seeking to reset and re-posture its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days.
“This will probably include operations against the capital, Kyiv.”