Ukraine sees evidence of war crimes – Scholz calls Putin

A Ukrainian soldier helps a wounded comrade on the road in the liberated area of ​​Kharkiv region

Ukrainian troops recaptured large parts of Russian territory on Monday. According to their own statements, they captured numerous Russian soldiers in a lightning attack, forcing Moscow to retreat hastily.

(Photo: dpa)

Kyiv the Ukraine tries to bring life back to normal in the reconquered areas in the east as quickly as possible. "It is very important that normal life returns to the areas that are no longer occupied with our troops, with our flag," said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday evening.

At the same time, however, the experience after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv area seems to be repeating itself in the spring: Ukrainian authorities are reporting indications of suspected war crimes by the occupiers from the liberated areas. There are already 40 suspected cases in the Kharkov region, said Deputy Interior Minister Jewhenij Jenin.

After the rapid advances by Ukrainian troops in the past few days, there was no news of new territory gains on Wednesday night. But the US government sees a new dynamic in the war in view of Ukraine's military successes Russiaentering its 203rd day.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) after a month-long break phoned Russia's President Vladimir Putin for the first time. He called for a solution based on a ceasefire, the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity.

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Ukraine is paying pensions again in the east

As an example of the desired normalization of life in reconquered areas, Zelenski mentioned in his video speech that pensions had been paid out again for the first time in the liberated city of Balaklija in the Kharkiv region - retrospectively for five months. "During the occupation we could not make any payments." Ukraine will fulfill its social obligations, the president promised.

Ukrainian women with their bicycles in one of the reconquered areas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said normalization is being sought in the areas liberated from the Russian occupiers.

(Photo: IMAGO/Ukrinform)

Zelensky's other tasks in the area included searching for stray Russian soldiers and sabotage groups, and arresting collaborators. Security in the liberated parts of the country must be guaranteed.

Evidence of war crimes committed by the Russian occupiers reported

News also came from Balaklija that Russian forces are said to have maintained a torture prison in the local police station. During the several months of occupation, around 40 people were locked up in the basement, senior Ukrainian police officer Serhiy Bolvinov reported after an on-site visit.

"The occupiers took away those who served in the military or had relatives there, and also looked for those who helped the army," wrote the head of the investigative department at the Kharkiv police station Facebook. According to witnesses, prisoners were tortured with electric shocks. Reporters from the BBC and other foreign media confirmed the information.

They also reported corpses found in Balaklija. There were also unverified reports of bodies being found from other places in the region.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

On Tuesday, Kyiv demanded supplies of tanks from Germany.

(Photo: dpa)

After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv at the end of March, hundreds of dead civilians were discovered there. Despite overwhelming evidence, Moscow denied that Russian soldiers were responsible for the killings and spoke of a Ukrainian staging. Ukraine is gathering evidence of alleged war crimes by the Russian army with international help.

Deputy Interior Minister Jenin spoke of 40 suspected cases in the Kharkiv region. "The occupiers were in this area for a long time and of course did everything possible to cover up the traces of their crimes," he said, according to the ministry. Everything must be done to secure evidence.

United States currently see the Ukrainian military at an advantage

The situation at the front is tense but under control, said Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zalushnyi. According to his own statements, he was on the phone Nato-Commander in Chief Christopher Cavoli and US Chief of Staff Mark Milley. Saluschnyj thanked for the military support of the USA.

In view of the Ukrainian advance, Russian representatives have recently explored whether negotiations are possible, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanischyna told France24. However, Ukraine only wants to negotiate when it has achieved its military goals. There was no confirmation from Moscow for the alleged offer of talks.

Because of the Ukrainians' successes, the US government sees a new dynamic in the war. "I think what you're seeing is certainly a shift, a momentum in Ukraine's armed forces, particularly in the north," National Security Council communications director John Kirby said in Washington. The Russians had given up their positions and left material behind.

"They call it a repositioning, but it is certain that they have retreated in the face of Ukrainian forces that are clearly on the offensive." Kirby stressed that Russia remains militarily strong.

Putin does not give in in conversation with Scholz

Chancellor Scholz spoke to Kremlin chief Putin for about 90 minutes and warned against further attempts to separate areas of Ukraine. "The Chancellor emphasized that any further Russian annexation steps would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances," said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

Olaf Scholz

The German Chancellor spent about 90 minutes on the phone with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

(Photo: Getty Images)

The Kremlin's statement about the phone call did not indicate that Putin would give in. The president drew the chancellor's attention to the "outrageous violations" by the Ukrainians of international humanitarian law, it said. The Ukrainian army is shelling cities in the Donbass and killing civilians there.

In the dispute over gas supplies, Putin emphasized that Russia is a reliable supplier. However, Western sanctions prevented proper maintenance of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1. Not only the federal government considers this justification for the delivery stop to be advanced.

Ukraine presents concept on security guarantees

Ukraine has drawn up a concept for international security guarantees after the hoped-for end of the Russian war of aggression. The head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, and the former Nato-General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen presented the paper in Kyiv. Accordingly, the Ukrainian army should be equipped and trained in such a way that the country can ward off a Russian attack at any time.

A group of countries should guarantee Ukraine's security politically and legally. The following were listed as possible guarantee countries: Germany, the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Poland, Italy, France, Australia, Turkey and the countries of Northern Europe and the Baltic States. Even with the guarantees, Ukraine is still striving to join NATO, it said.

That will be important on Wednesday

At the moment, the Russian leadership not only has to think about how to make up for the defeat in eastern Ukraine. She also has to deal with the renewed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Achieving a quick end to these fighting is one of the few points on which Russia and other countries currently agree. Diplomatic ceasefire efforts will continue on Wednesday.

This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war and the consequences:

In Germany, the dispute over the delivery of battle tanks and armored personnel carriers to Ukraine continues. The pressure from the Greens and FDP is growing, even though Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) once again emphasized the limitation to artillery and air defense on Monday. It remains true that "there are no Germans going it alone," said Scholz in Berlin. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) also warned of this. SPD leader Saskia Esken did not rule out the delivery of battle tanks, but insisted on international coordination.

Federal Minister of Finance and FDP-Boss Christian Lindner pleaded for additional support. “You have to salute the bravery of the Ukrainians. Every day we have to check if we can do more to help them in this war," Lindner wrote on Twitter. "Ukraine must win this war."

Robin Wagener (Greens), chairman of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group in the Bundestag, also called for more support: "Our freedom is not being defended on the combat training grounds of the Federal Republic, but on the front in Ukraine."

So far, the German delivery list has included the Gepard anti-aircraft vehicle, the Panzerhaubitze 2000, multiple rocket launchers and the Iris-T anti-aircraft system as well as other weapons and ammunition.

More: Don't miss any development - everything new in our news blog about the Ukraine war

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