Ukrainian officials say troops pushed back Russian soldiers around Kyiv late last week and took ground back from invading forces.
“Our troops are chasing them both to the northwest and northeast [of Kyiv], pushing the enemy away from Kyiv,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The country’s deputy defense minister said Ukraine has taken back “the whole Kyiv region,” Reuters reports.
“Irpin, Buch, Gostomel and the whole Kyiv region were liberated from the invader,” Defense Minister Hanna Maliar posted online.
According to the Daily Mail, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also reportedly called President Zelenskyy to congratulate him on the success of “brave armed forces” fighting off Russia’s invading troops.
Russia says it has pulled back on operations in the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas in northern Ukraine, but according to reports, fighting has continued in some of those areas.
“March 31 will go down in the history of our town … as the day of its liberation from Russian (forces),” Bucha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk said in a video.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russian forces are not withdrawing but regrouping. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko is asking residents to stay away from Kyiv because “huge” battles are still happening around the city.
“The risk of dying is pretty high, and that’s why my advice to anyone who wants to come back is: Please take a little bit more time,” Klitschko said.
In the Chernihiv region, Gov. Viacheslav Chaus said he believes that some Russian troops are withdrawing, but the fighting may not be over.
“Air and missile strikes are [still] possible in the region, nobody is ruling this out,” he said in a video.
Officials also said the fighting has already resulted in many casualties and significant destruction. In Bucha, some 280 people are buried in a mass grave, with some corpses still in the street. Some 200 people in Irpin have been killed, and around Kyiv, bodies of civilian men are in the streets.
Sources told reporters that one of the corpses had his hands tied.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images,Alexey Furman/Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.