Ukrainian forensic experts have so far exhumed 146 bodies, mostly of civilians, at the mass burial site near Izium in eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said on Monday. Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said the exhumed bodies included two children. The Kremlin has denied allegations that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine’s Kharkiv province.
Ukraine has recaptured a village close to the eastern city of Lysychansk, in a small but symbolic victory that means Russia no longer has full control of the Luhansk region, one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s key war aims. Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Ukraine’s armed forces were in “complete control” of Bilohorivka. “It’s a suburb of Lysychansk. Soon we will drive these scumbags out of there with a broom,” he said. “Step by step, centimetre by centimetre, we will liberate our entire land from the invaders.”
The leaders of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic were beginning to panic, Haidai claimed. There have been numerous reports of snatch squads detaining men on the street and drafting them into the army, while mobile communications and the internet have been jammed to prevent people from learning about Moscow’s military setbacks, he claimed.
The leader of the Moscow-backed administration in Donbas has called for urgent referendums on the region becoming part of Russia. Denis Pushilin, head of the Moscow-based separatist administration in Donetsk, called on his fellow separatist leader in Luhansk to combine efforts toward preparing a referendum on joining Russia. “Our actions should be synchronised,” Pushilin said in a video posted to social media on Monday.
The pace of Ukrainian forces’ advance the north-east had thrown Russian forces into a “panic”, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in his nightly address. Zelenskiy said he was now focused on “speed” in liberated areas. “The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed in restoring normal life,” he said.
Russian troops struck the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region early on Monday but its reactors have not been damaged and are working normally, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said. A blast took place 300 metres away from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings shortly after midnight, Energoatom said in a statement. The attack also damaged a nearby hydroelectric power plant and transmission lines.
Ukrainian officials say 200 Russian soldiers died in a strike on Sunday when a missile hit a former bus shelter where they were based, in the frontline city of Svatove. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia has failed to send reinforcements. It is now under pressure and vulnerable to a further counteroffensive, the thinktank said.
Ukraine’s armed forces said troops had crossed the Oskil River over the weekend, marking another important milestone for the counteroffensive in the north-eastern Kharkiv region. The river flows south into the Siversky Donets, which snakes through the Donbas, the main focus of Russia’s invasion.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause long-term grain prices to rise by 7% and drive up greenhouse gas emissions if production in other parts of the world expand to meet any shortfalls, a study published in Nature Food found. Russia and Ukraine together export about 28% of the world’s wheat supply.
A court in rebel-held Luhansk has sentenced two employees of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to 13 years in prison on treason charges. OSCE chairman Zbigniew Rau condemned the “unjustifiable” detention of the mission’s members since the outbreak of the war, calling it “nothing but pure political theatre … inhumane and repugnant”.