The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

As Russia pulls back from Kyiv, grim scenes emerge

Residents ride past the wreckage of cars in the Kyiv region on April 1. (Reuters)

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A high-ranking Ukrainian official said the entire Kyiv region was no longer under Russian control Saturday, as signs mounted that Moscow’s troops were pulling back from cities and towns across the capital region. And as the forces withdraw, those on the ground describe a grim scene that’s been left behind.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said the nation’s armed forces were back in control of all of Kyiv oblast, and Britain’s Defense Ministry confirmed that local forces were steadily regaining control. President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s withdrawal in the north was “slow but noticeable.” In Bucha, a town near Kyiv, local officials and reporters say there are mass graves and bodies scattered in the streets.

Here’s what to know

  • Four people were “injured and severely burned” when Russian forces fired mortars at protesters in a city near Zaporizhzhia, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman.
  • The death toll from a missile strike on a main government building in the city of Mykolaiv this week has risen to 36, the governor of the southern Ukrainian region said.
  • Ukrainian photojournalist Maksym Levin was found dead on the northern outskirts of Kyiv, the country’s prosecutor general said Saturday. He is at least the sixth journalist killed covering Russia’s war on Ukraine.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent answer to the annexations.

In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.