Russia hopes to recruit upwards of 60,000 new troops, according to the U.S.
Last Updated: April 9, 2022, 2:34 PM ET
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian troops invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Russian forces have since been met with “stiff resistance” from Ukrainians, according to U.S. officials.
In recent days, Russian forces have retreated from northern Ukraine, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. After graphic images emerged of civilians lying dead in the streets of Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv, the United States and European countries accused Russia of committing war crimes.
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Ukraine’s defense ministry said it found 132 “tormented bodies” of tortured, murdered citizens in the town of Makariv, after Russian forces retreated.
The ministry said it uncovered “new monstrous war crimes,” saying the town is “half ruined.”
-ABC News’ Mike Trew
The Russian defense ministry claimed it fired on the Ukrainian Apache, a dry-cargo ship, which allegedly changed course and attempted to break through to the Mariupol seaport, the ministry said.
The Ukrainian dry-cargo ship did not respond to Russian border guards’ demands to contact them through the international channel and continued heading in the direction of Mariupol port, Russia claimed.
Russia said two border patrol ships fired warning artillery along the vessel’s course, but the cargo ship did not change course or slow down.
The cargo ship, over radio communication, transmitted a message, saying, “I am ‘Maniac’, coming for you,” and signal fires were observed on the shore, according to Russia’s defense ministry.
The Black Sea Fleet then opened artillery fire on the Apache dry-cargo ship to block the vessel, Russia’s defense ministry said.
A direct hit caused a fire in the stern of the ship and it then went adrift. The crew got in touch with border ships with a request to cease fire and said they will comply with the demands of Russian sailors, Russia said.
Russia said no crew members were injured and the fire was extinguished by the ship’s crew.
The ship was inspected and then convoyed to the Yeysk port along with its crew, according to Russia.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday, according to the Ukrainian Embassy in London.
“The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson is one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion, a leader in sanctions pressure on Russia and defence support for Ukraine. Congratulations in Kyiv, my friend!” Zelenskyy said in a post online.
Britain announced it will send 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems to support Ukraine, according to the The Associated Press.
“Today I met my friend President @ZelenskyyUa in Kyiv as a show of our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine. We’re setting out a new package of financial & military aid which is a testament of our commitment to his country’s struggle against Russia’s barbaric campaign,” Johnson said.
Ukraine claimed Saturday that its intelligence indicates Russian forces are currently regrouping in eastern Ukraine, then the tankers intend to move toward Kharkiv, Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov said.
Russians are also regrouping in the direction of Izum, in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainians said.
“They plan to enter Kharkiv in the first place. They will try to conquer the city of Mariupol and only after that they can try to initiate Kiev,” Budanov said in an interview on CNN.
To compensate for their significant losses in Ukraine, the Russian army is transferring additional troops to Belgorod (Russia), from where they are relocated to Kharkiv region, the Ukrainians claimed.
Budanov said Ukraine needs serious military support from allies so its soldiers can more effectively resist Russian aggression.
-ABC News’ Mike Trew