Putin Stoops to Shocking New Low in Humiliating Retreat From Kyiv

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Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty

Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty

Despite retreating away from Kyiv in a perfunctory display of de-escalating tensions, Russian forces are leaving landmines in their wake, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday.

The claim by the Ukrainian leader comes as Russian forces ramp up their attacks in the southern and eastern areas of the country, including in the eastern city of Lysychansk and the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar, all as Russia seeks to claim the holy grail of the war: the city of Mariupol.

“It’s still not possible to return to normal life, as it used to be, even at the territories that we are taking back after the fighting,” Zelensky said in a video message, according to the Associated Press. “We need [to] wait until our land is demined, wait till we are able to assure you that there won’t be new shelling.”

You Won’t Believe the Horror Left Behind Once Russian Invaders Are Chased Out of Town

Ukrainian forces have reclaimed areas just outside of Kyiv as Russian units have either been defeated or cast out, Zelensky said, though he cautioned residents to prepare for missile strikes or rocket launches in the days to come.

Zelensky also warned that the battle in eastern Ukraine will continue to intensify as Russian troops regroup there. Leaders in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions said Saturday that Russia had bombarded their territories overnight with attacks, according to The New York Times. Russia’s offensive left 31 buildings destroyed in the cities of Lysychansk and Toshkivka along with an untold number of civilian deaths in Mariupol and Volnovakha.

The civilians who have managed to survive the destruction of Mariupol have also been unable to leave. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it could not evacuate civilians out of the city Friday due to safety concerns, which city officials attributed to a Russian blockade. It said it would try again Saturday.

“Our presence will put a humanitarian marker on this planned movement of people, giving the convoy additional protection and reminding all sides of the civilian, humanitarian nature of the operation,” the group said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Russia has also sought to quell unrest in areas it does fully control. Video posted on Telegram by the energy company Energoatom showed Russian troops attacking anti-war protesters in the southern city of Energodar, which houses Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

“At a peaceful rally in Energodar today, the occupiers started shooting at people,” Energoatom wrote on Saturday. “People came there with their families, there were also children.”

The aggressive move by Russian troops came after an intercepted call released by the Ukrainian Security Service showed one soldier railing against their presence in the first place. According to the call, the soldier made a blunt assessment to his wife: “It’s unclear why we are even here.”

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