Day 43 of Putin's war. Russians intend to cut evacuation routes from Donbas, establish puppet governments in occupied towns

7 April, 10:53 AM
A destroyed residential building in Borodyanka, a town in Kyiv Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

A destroyed residential building in Borodyanka, a town in Kyiv Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is now well into its second month. Today, April 7th, is the 43d day of Putin's war. Here, NV tracks the main events of the day.

UPDATE (2013): Russians troops have shelled a vital Ukrainian railway section near Barvinkove in Donetsk Oblast, completely cutting evacuation from the east of Ukraine, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai has reported.

According to the governor, today Russian forces completely destroyed the only railway evacuation route controlled by Ukraine leading from Kramatorsk, Slovyansk and Liman. "This was a route of life for tens of thousands of our citizens," Haidai said.

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Three evacuation trains are currently held up in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
More than 500 evacuees from Luhansk are held up at a nearby railway station.

UPDATE (1905): Russia is suspended from the UN Human Rights Council. A total of 93 states in the UN General Assembly voted in favor of suspension, 24 against, 58 abstained, and 18 did not vote. Notably, Serbia voted in favor of Russia's suspension, while China voted against.

UPDATE (1723): If Russian occupiers take full control over Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, they might resume their offensive operation against Kyiv, Oleksandr Gruzevych, deputy chief of staff of the command of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said during a press briefing on April 7.

Meanwhile Andriy Yermak, head of the President's Office of Ukraine, has said the battle for Donbas will be the key battle to decide the result of the Russia's war against Ukraine.

"We have already withstood the battle for Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Mykolayiv and many others. The army holds Mariupol," Yermak wrote in his Telegram channel. 

"But the further course of the war with Russia will be determined by the battle for the Donbas."

UPDATE (1403): Russian troops were given orders by their commanders  to kill civilians, new evidence from Ukraine's SBU security service indicates.

New communications intercepts published by the SBU on April 7 feature Russian soldiers being given direct command "to kill them all" when they ask how they should behave when they see civilian cars.

The soldiers speaking in the intercept mention they are stationed in Polohy, a town in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, which was indeed occupied by the Russians. Polohy is also located on one of the evacuation routes from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

UPDATE (1247): Not just Bucha: The Ukrainian authorities are continuing to uncover more and more Russian war crimes while inspecting recently liberated Kyiv Oblast, with more gruesome evidence of massacres of unarmed civilians.

Oleksandr Markushyn, a mayor of Irpin, a town only some 25 kilometers of Kyiv, has said local authorities had to use shovels to gather human remains off the ground. He claimed that in Irpin the occupiers had been shooting people and were then crushing the dead bodies by driving tanks over the corpses.

"Only after we chased that scum out of our city we could collect the remains of those of our citizens they murdered," Markushyn said.

Meahwhile, Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said that 90% of the people killed in the city during Russian occupation were shot. This was established after an examination of their wounds. As of today, the Ukrainian authorities have found 320 bodies in Bucha, Fedoruk told German broadcaster DW.

In Luhansk Oblast, governor Serhiy Haidai urged locals to evacuate as soon as possible, as the Russians have been trying to cut off all ways out of the besieged region.

"We are preparing for the Russian offensive! Maybe these few days are the last chance to leave," Haidai said.

"All of the free cities in Luhansk region are under enemy fire… The enemy is trying to cut off all possible ways to evacuate people. Yesterday the railway track was damaged, the good thing is that they were able to repair it, but if it happens again, will it work again?! ”the governor added.

Today, Russia could be expelled from the UN Human Rights Council. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine' Foreign Minister, reported on April 6 that Ukraine has filed a request to the UN General Assembly asking for the suspension of Russia's membership of the UN Human Rights Council.

At least two-thirds of the UN General Assembly member states must vote in favor of such a decision, and it cannot be vetoed. The main reason for considering such a resolution is Russian atrocities against civilians and war crimes committed by Russia on Ukrainian soil.

But Ukraine also has to bare reputational damage now as a video allegedly of Ukrainian soldiers shooting unarmed Russian soldiers for "looting" is spreading online.

Ukraine will act appropriately if the authenticity of that video is confirmed, Makhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President's Office head, has said in a statement.

"I will say at once, if we find evidence of any wrongdoing of our armed forces - of course, we will take them to the legal field. But I would like to emphasize once again that there exist as well lots of fakes with which Russia is trying to justify its atrocities," Podolyak said.

"On the other hand, I understand the emotional background of Ukrainian society and the army. I believe that, in principle, as harsh as possible actions against the Russian military are understandable, given this emotional background," he added.

The New York Times claims that it has managed to establish the authenticity of the video.

Meanwhile invading Russian forces continue to attack civilians in Ukraine, flattening villages and towns in Luhansk Oblast, and bombing Kharkiv Oblast.

In Mykolaiv, an enemy missile destroyed the central railway station, the local mayor said during a TV interview.  

Today Ukraine opend 10 humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, and also from Russian-controlled towns in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

While Ukraine has been trying to save as many people as possible from the occupied territories, the Russians continue to oppress Ukrainian civilians. The occupiers have established puppet local governments in Rubizhne, Enerhodar, Melitopol, and Nova Kakhovka. Mostly local pro-Russian lawmakers of the now banned Opposition Platform for Life party have started cooperating with the occupiers.

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