Ukrainian troops around Kiev horrified by what retreating Russians left behind

Joe Biden is wrong about many things, but not everything.


Russia’s army spent weeks occupying the suburbs around Kiev in preparation for an assault on the capital that never came. Now they’re pulling back, presumably to redeploy to the east in hopes of giving Putin a face-saving victory in the Donbas. As the Russians withdraw, Ukrainian soldiers are advancing and liberating towns like Irpin and Bucha.

What they’re finding is a shambles.

Reporters entering Irpin for the first time in weeks describe a devastated city:

The town whose once leafy parks were left strewn with bodies is now back under Ukrainian control, as Russian troops hastily pull back from outside Kyiv…

Barely a building has escaped the fighting unscathed. Shelling has blasted huge chunks out of modern, pastel-coloured apartment blocks.

The foggy streets are eerily empty, littered with cars with bullet-scarred windscreens, and echoing with the sound of stray dogs.

“It’s the apocalypse,” says a Ukrainian soldier who hitches a ride across the empty town.


The streets of Bucha are even more apocalyptic, as this horrifying video shows:

I can’t verify its authenticity but a different clip also purportedly recorded in Bucha appears to show the same scene on the same stretch of road:

Note the body in the intersection at 18 seconds in, still astride a bicycle. What’s a plausible explanation for how that person was killed that doesn’t involve a war crime?

Ukrainian troops aren’t riding bikes into battle, of course, and it’s hard to imagine how a civilian out for a bike ride might suddenly find themselves caught in the crossfire of a skirmish between Russian and Ukrainian forces. There don’t appear to be any craters nearby either indicating an artillery strike that might have inadvertently killed the bicyclist.

The likeliest explanation is that he or she was targeted by the Russians. Maybe they felt frustrated at being ordered to withdraw and decided to take out their frustration on locals who had the misfortune of being out on the street when that order came down.


It wasn’t just bodies and burned-out cars and buildings that they left behind. Zelensky is urging residents who left the newly liberated suburbs not to come home just yet, as the Russians are hoping to kill a few more of them even in absentia:

“They left in their wake a complete disaster and many dangers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an overnight address, referring to the Russians. He added that the region remained unsafe. “Firstly, the bombing might continue. Secondly, they are mining all this territory,” he said.

Mr. Zelensky said retreating Russian forces had placed mines in houses, laid trip wires and booby-trapped corpses.

One man told reporters that he returned home to his village to find that his TV had been pierced by a saber and his dog, kenneled outside, had been shot. Why? Just because, apparently. A business owner in another Ukrainian town claimed the Russians had taken workers’ clothes and personal effects from his factory and even stole a van. “As a farewell, our ‘liberators’ were looting everything they could,” he said to the WSJ.

Meanwhile, back in Russia, Putin is rocking an 83 percent approval rating thanks to a surge of national pride wounded by the west’s efforts to isolate the country and a relentless diet of turbo-charged propaganda, possibly the only facet of this war in which the Kremlin has performed well.


God only knows what’s happening in Ukrainian cities in the east and south, many of which are currently under Russian control and have been for weeks. Take 12 minutes to watch this sometimes graphic report on what the BBC found when their camera crews were finally able to reenter Kiev’s suburbs, and note especially the effort the Russians seem to be making to destroy evidence of their crimes. It seems that some burned bodies weren’t burned by what killed them, but only after the fact.

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