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Putin honours butchers of Bucha as Russia begins new offensive


Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted the honorary title of Guard to the military’s 64th Guards Detached Motor Rifle Brigade, accused by Ukraine of massacring civilians in the city of Bucha.

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“For its heroism and courage for the strength and merits shown by the brigade in combat to defend the Homeland and the interests of the State in conditions of armed conflict, I decree (…) assign the honorary title of Guard to the 64th Guards Detached Motor Rifle Brigade,” a presidential decree said.

After the withdrawal of Russian troops from northern Kyiv, Ukrainian authorities denounced a massacre of civilians in Bucha, where several hundred bodies were found, some of whom were handcuffed.

The Ukrainian military intelligence released on its website the personal data of 1600 Russian soldiers belonging to that brigade, whom Kyiv has blamed for the alleged massacre.

The Kremlin rejected the accusations as false, and demanded that Western leaders not rush into making “gratuitous accusations”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said Russia had started an anticipated new offensive in the east of the country while a Russian missile attack killed seven people in Lviv, the first civilian victims in the western city about 60 kilometres from Poland.

Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling killed another four people in the eastern Donetsk region on Monday, while a man and a woman were killed in Kharkiv, in the northeast, when shells hit a playground near a residential building.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian forces had begun the “Battle of Donbas” after senior officials said Moscow had begun a new offensive push along most of Ukraine’s eastern flank.

“A very large part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive,” Zelenskiy said in a video address, adding: “No matter how many Russian troops they send there, we will fight. We will defend ourselves.”

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