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Russian commander orders soldiers to ‘bring out’ Ukrainian civilians near besieged Mariupol: report


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The Ukrainian government on Thursday released what it claims are intercepted radio recordings of a Russian commander ordering his soldiers to “pull out” Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol.

The Times of London reported on Thursday on the obscene recordings released by Ukraine’s security services. In one recording, an unidentified Russian soldier said he observed “two people coming out of the grove in civilian clothes [clothing]He also spotted a vehicle and says he cannot determine whether it is a civilian vehicle or one operated by members of the Ukrainian military.

“Fuck them all off!” a Russian commander shouts in response, according to the intercepted call.

“On them all, f***!” shouted the superior. The soldier accepts the order saying, “I have it.”

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The recording is believed to be from a village outside Mariupol, a city on the northeast coast of the Sea of ​​Azov that has come under near-constant Russian bombardment since March 1. About 120,000 civilians remained in the city along with a pre-war population. half a million. As the Russians blocked humanitarian aid and food, drinking water and medical supplies dwindled.

Ukrainian authorities estimated that thousands of civilians died as airstrikes hit a maternity hospital, a theater where hundreds of civilians were sheltering and residential buildings. They also warned that the Russians could stage a “false flag” provocation by staging the corpses of slain Mariupol residents and misrepresenting them as the victims of Ukrainian troops who used them as human shields.

The Mariupol city council on Wednesday accused Russian forces of relying on a mobile crematorium to cover up their war crimes against civilians, as Mariupol’s mayor said, “This is the new Auschwitz.”

In another leaked recording, a soldier lamented to his colleagues that Ukrainian troops had “surrounded” their small Russian group and received little support from Moscow.

Declining morale and panic in Russian ranks are of concern to Russian leaders, according to a military directive Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it intercepted from the Russians.

The document states that “commanders of all ranks faced opposition from personnel” who were persuaded by “the internet and popular messengers”.

He adds that “the Russian security services have become aware of many cases of soldiers being blackmailed through their personal data and of soldiers deceived by false information communicated to them personally via messaging applications. such as Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram, Vkontakte and others”.

In response, Russian military leaders ordered “increased control” of soldiers’ access to the internet and social media on their mobile devices and checks on their “moral and psychological state”.

The Times also reported that Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, nicknamed the Butcher of Mariupol, recently boasted of having “liquidated” 93 suspected Ukrainian “deserters” last month as they abandoned their posts and sought to flee the besieged. Mariupol. The group were wearing civilian clothes, but Mizintsev said they were Ukrainian fighters, Russian RT reported.

In another audio recording made public by Ukraine, Mizintsev said Russian soldiers’ ears should be cut off as punishment for not wearing the correct uniform.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaking remotely from Ukraine, addressed the Greek parliament on Thursday and highlighted the destruction wrought in Mariupol, which is home to a large Greek population and shares strong ethnic and cultural ties with Greece. . After withdrawing from kyiv, Russian troops have renewed their offensive in southeastern Ukraine in recent days.

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“I urge you to use Greece’s influence and the opportunities as a member of the European Union to save Mariupol,” Zelenskyy said. “Russia is absolutely confident in its invincibility and that it can do whatever it wants without going unpunished. We have to stop it. We have to bring Russia to justice.”

“Russian troops have sown death and destruction on the land where for centuries Ukrainians and Greeks have enjoyed peace and prosperity,” Zelenskyy said. “The Russians have started a new relocation of the inhabitants of southern Ukraine. At least tens of thousands of our citizens have already been taken to the territory of Russia and to the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine. These are residents of Mariupol and other cities and communities hard hit by Russian troops.”

This week, the US ambassador to the UN acknowledged ‘credible reports’ that Russian forces moved tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians from Mariupol to ‘filtration camps’ and then into Russian territory. or to the rebel-controlled region of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Zelenskyy warned the Greek parliament on Thursday that another port city on the Black Sea could suffer the same fate as Mariupol. Zelenskyy said when the Greek foreign minister was in Odessa last week, the Ukrainian city, once a former Greek colony and now a major industrial center, came under Russian bombardment and another missile attack. Ukraine’s president said Odessa was calm again on Thursday.

“This is a forced relocation of people by Russia, and it is certainly not the first relocation by Russians and Ukrainians and Greeks are suffering from such relocation,” Zelenskyy said. “We have to save Odessa from the same destruction that Mariupol suffered. We have to find all the people deported by Russia. We have to save those from Mariupol who are still alive and can be saved.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Ukraine had backtracked on its proposal that international guarantees of its security do not apply to Crimea. Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 and wants Ukraine to recognize Moscow’s sovereignty over it.

Marianna Vishegirskaya stands in front of a maternity ward which was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)

Russian forces have withdrawn from the capital region around kyiv in recent days, and photos have emerged showing dead bodies in civilian clothes lying in the streets or outside houses in Bucha and other towns, some of between them with their hands tied behind their backs and showing signs of rape and torture.

German news magazine Der Spiegel recently reported that Germany’s federal intelligence service also claimed to have intercepted radio recordings of Bucha and presented the findings to the German parliament on Wednesday. The recordings reportedly captured Russian troops discussing killing civilians on the radio, with one soldier specifically mentioning shooting a man on a bicycle. Among the many graphic images that surfaced from the Bucha massacre, a dead man next to his bicycle was one that sent shockwaves through the West and prompted new sanctions to crush the machine. Russian war.

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Meeting in Brussels, the G7 foreign ministers pledged on Thursday to “maintain and increase pressure on Russia by imposing coordinated additional restrictive measures to effectively thwart Russian capabilities to continue aggression against Ukraine”. Considering the allegations of war crimes in the town of Bucha, the ministers insisted that “those responsible for these heinous acts and atrocities, including any attacks targeting civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, will be held accountable. and prosecuted”.

They also repeated warnings about the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, saying “any use by Russia of such a weapon would be unacceptable and would carry grave consequences.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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