NATO chief Jan Stoltenberg believes Moscow is double dealing after claiming it would withdraw from Kyiv and Chernihiv to build up trust during peace talks. He said Russia has ‘repeatedly lied ‘
Russian troops were accused of using claims of a partial withdrawal in parts of Ukraine today to regroup and prepare for more deadly attacks.
NATO chief Jan Stoltenberg believes Moscow is double dealing after claiming it would withdraw from Kyiv and Chernihiv to build up trust during peace talks.
He said Russia was regrouping its forces amid evidence that its troops have suffered huge losses and have been repeatedly pushed back north of Kyiv anyway.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “We have heard the recent statements that Russia will scale down military operations around Kyiv and in northern Ukraine.
“But Russia has repeatedly lied about its intentions. So we can only judge Russia on its actions, not on its words. According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing, but repositioning.
AFP via Getty Images)
“Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region.
“At the same time, Russia maintains pressure on Kyiv and other cities. So we can expect additional offensive actions, bringing even more suffering.”
It came after UK spy boss Sir Jeremy Fleming said Putin had “massively misjudged” the war. The GCHQ chief, in Australia, said in a rare public speech: “He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise.
“He overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory.
“We’ve seen Russian soldiers – short of weapons and morale – refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and accidentally shooting down their own aircraft. Even though we believe Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth, the extent of these misjudgments must be crystal clear to the regime.”
The White House confirmed that “Putin is being misinformed by his advisors”, while the head of Britain’s armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said Russia’s bid to take all of Ukraine looks to have “fallen apart” and said that Moscow’s withdrawal leaves its troops open to counter-attacks.
Further allegations of Russian war crimes emerged today.
Ukraine’s SBU spy service released a tape of an intercepted call in which a Russian soldier said: “We have three tank guys here – they raped a girl.”
The voice adds: “She was 16.”
In another call a soldier “sick” of ready meals said: “We had dog yesterday. We just wanted some meat.”
The recordings, being compiled for future war crimes trials, were released on Twitter. One Ukrainian responded: “Filth – they will burn in hell.”
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Some Russian troops retreating from nuclear disaster zone Chernobyl, north of Kyiv, are being taken to a clinic in Gomel, Belarus, to be treated for “acute radiation sickness”.
Yaroslav Yemelianenko, from the Ukrainian state agency overseeing the exclusion zone, said Russian troops had disturbed radiated sites.
He said: “There are rules for dealing with this area.. because radiation is physics – it works without regard to status or shoulder straps.” By the war’s 36th day, 148 Ukrainian children had been killed.
And Ukraine claimed 400,000 locals had been abducted to Russia.
Rescuers searching ruined areas of Kyiv were warned by police that corpses could be booby-trapped.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the nation’s defence was “at a turning point”, and asked for more help from the West with “tanks, aircraft, artillery systems”.
A petition to try Putin at the International Criminal Court has almost 1.5million signatures globally.
Accusations include the bombing of a Mariupol theatre sheltering refugees where the death toll has hit 300.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said crimes against humanity, are being “thoroughly documented”.
Despite claims of a retreat, both Kyiv and Chernihiv suffered more air attacks in the last 24 hours.