Russia-Ukraine live updates: Kremlin reacts to images of dead bodies in Bucha

(NEW YORK) — Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine from multiple directions, while Ukrainians, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are putting up “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The attack began Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.” Heavy shelling and missile attacks, many on civilian buildings, continue in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as other major cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Apr 04, 10:22 am
Russia may launch major offensive in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Monday it is monitoring large movements of Russian troops and reinforcements in eastern Ukraine.

The General Staff said it expects Russian forces to launch a possibly major offensive in the Donbas region within the next 24 hours, particularly against the city of Severodonetsk, which is the administrative center of the government-controlled areas of the Luhansk Oblast.

Meanwhile, Donetsk Oblast Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko has urged civilians to evacuate now, even from areas not close to the front lines.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his recognition of two breakaway areas of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region that share a border with Russia — the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. Russia-backed separatist forces have controlled these parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhanks oblasts since 2014.

Apr 04, 10:04 am
Zelenskyy visits bombed city of Bucha

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited on Monday the decimated city of Bucha, where Ukrainian officials have accused Russian troops of committing war crimes against civilians.

Zelenskyy toured the Kyiv suburb that was retaken by Ukrainian forces in recent days. Zelenskyy went to a road in the city littered with destroyed Russian equipment and he spoke to local residents.

Zelenskyy repeated accusations that Russia committed war crimes and genocide after Ukrainian officials said 410 people believed to have been civilians were found dead, many with their hands bound behind their backs and shot at close range.

Russian officials have denied the accusation and have requested the U.N. Security Council investigate.

Apr 04, 9:34 am
Ukraine accuses Russian brigade of war crimes, releases names of troops

Ukraine has accused a brigade of the Russian Ground Forces of committing war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv.

The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published online Monday what it said was a list with the names of hundreds of personnel of Russia’s 64th Motor Rifle Brigade whom they believe were directly responsible for atrocities in Bucha. Ukrainian officials have said there is evidence of other Russian units being involved.

Ukrainian authorities announced Sunday that 410 civilians were found dead in recently recaptured towns near the capital as part of an investigation into possible war crimes by Russian forces. Images emerged showing bodies, some of which showed signs of torture, in civilian clothes strewn in streets and in mass graves across Bucha, northwest of Kyiv. ABC News journalists on the ground saw some of the dead, including a family that locals said were executed with their hands bound.

Russia has denied the claims.

-ABC News’ Natalia Kushnir and Fidel Pavlenko

Apr 04, 9:23 am
Russian oligarch’s yacht seized in Spain

A yacht that belongs to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was seized Monday in Marina Real in the Spanish port of Palma de Mallorca, two U.S. law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The yacht was seized by Spanish authorities and KleptoCapture, the U.S. Department of Justice task force charged with finding assets of oligarchs trying to evade sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vekselberg was among the oligarchs sanctioned previously by the United States in 2018 after Russia invaded Crimea.

The task force is trying to find yachts, airplanes and other moveable properties before the oligarchs can move them to jurisdictions where it might be more difficult for U.S. authorities to investigate.

-ABC News’ Luke Barr and Aaron Katersky

Apr 04, 8:20 am
Russia accuses Ukraine of ‘fake attack’ in Bucha

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukrainian forces of staging an attack in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, where images have emerged showing bodies in civilian clothes lying in the streets and in mass graves.

“The other day, another fake attack was launched in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region, after Russian military personnel left from there in accordance with the plans and agreements reached,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow on Monday. “A few days later, a staging was arranged there, which was dispersed through all channels and social networks by Ukrainian representatives and their Western patrons.”

According to Lavrov, Russian forces vacated the area on March 30.

“On March 31, the mayor [of Bucha] solemnly said that everything was fine there,” he added. “And two days later, we saw how the same production was organized on the streets, which they are now trying to use for anti-Russian purposes.”

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova announced Sunday that 410 civilians were found dead in recently recaptured towns near the capital as part of an investigation into possible war crimes by Russian forces. Some photos taken Sunday in Bucha show unarmed individuals who appear to have been executed with their hands or legs bound. A number of world leaders have accused Russia of committing the atrocities.

Apr 04, 7:41 am
Kremlin reacts to images of dead bodies in Bucha

Russia responded on Monday to accusations that its troops have deliberately killed civilians in Ukraine, after images emerged showing bodies in civilian clothes scattered in areas on the outskirts of the capital that were recently recaptured from Russian forces.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova said Sunday that 410 civilians were found dead in towns near Kyiv.

During a daily press briefing on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia “categorically dismiss[es] any accusations” of its role in civilian killings and that Moscow does not trust the evidence in Bucha.

“This information should be seriously doubted,” Peskov told reporters. “From what we have seen, the video materials cannot be trusted to a large extent, as our specialists from the Defense Ministry have detected signs of video forgery and other kinds of fakes.”

The Kremlin demands that “international leaders do not jump to conclusions, do not make hasty unsupported accusations but at least seek information from various sources and at least listen to our arguments,” Peskov said.

“The facts, the chronology of events also do not speak in favor of the credibility of these claims,” he added.

Russia will reiterate its calls to discuss the matter at the United Nations Security Council on Monday, according to Peskov.

“We believe that the issue should be discussed at the highest level, so we have proposed that it be discussed at the Security Council. We are aware that the initiative has been blocked,” he said. “Our diplomats will continue active efforts towards putting this item on the Security Council’s agenda. This issue is too serious.”

“The initiative aimed to put the item on the Security Council agenda demonstrates that Russia wants and actually demands its discussion at the international level,” he added.

Apr 04, 7:11 am
Russia seeks UN Security Council meeting on Bucha for Monday

Russia said it will repeat its request for the United Nations Security Council to meet on Monday over what Moscow described as “criminal provocations by Ukrainian soldiers and radicals” in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

The United Kingdom’s mission to the U.N., which assumed the presidency of the 15-member Security Council for April, has said the group will hold a scheduled discussion on Ukraine on Tuesday, rather than meet on Monday as requested by Russia.

“Yesterday, in the worst English tradition, the British presidency of the U.N. Security Council did not give consent to holding a meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Bucha,” Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement via Telegram on Monday. “Russia today will again demand the convening of the U.N. Security Council in connection with the criminal provocations of the Ukrainian military and radicals in this city.”

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venedyktova announced Sunday that 410 civilians were found dead in recently recaptured towns near the capital as part of an investigation into possible war crimes by Russian forces. Images emerged showing bodies in civilian clothes strewn in the streets of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv.

Russia’s deputy representative to the U.N. Security Council, Dmitry Polyansky, said via Twitter on Sunday that Moscow had requested a meeting to be held on Monday “in connection with the monstrous provocation of Ukrainian radicals in Bucha.”

Apr 04, 6:01 am
Russian troops, Wagner mercenaries move into Ukraine’s Donbas region

Russian forces are continuing to consolidate and reorganize as they refocus their offensive into the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update Monday.

“Russian troops, including mercenaries from the Russian state-linked Wagner private military company, are being moved into the area,” the ministry added.

Wagner is the best-known of an array of Russian mercenary groups and has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian company has deployed fighters to countries in the Middle East and Africa. U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby told reporters last month that Wagner “has an interest in increasing their footprint in Ukraine.”

Apr 03, 10:37 pm
Zelenskyy speaks at Grammys: ‘Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a brief speech at the on Sunday night.

Zelenskyy, in a video message, said war is the opposite of music, but hopes soon the silence of death will be filled with the sound of music.

“The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence. Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos,” Zelenskyy told the audience. “They sing to the wounded. In hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”

Apr 03, 8:14 pm
7 dead, 34 wounded in Kharkiv shelling, 70% of Chernihiv destroyed

At least seven civilians are dead and 34 are wounded following shelling in Kharkiv, the region’s prosecutor’s office announced Sunday.

The shelling occurred Sunday evening in the city’s Slobidskyi district, according to the Kharkiv regional military administration Oleg Sinehubov, who added that children are among the victims.

Meanwhile, in Chernihiv, around 70% of the city has been destroyed, according to Mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko, who was speaking on Ukrainian TV.

He added that businesses are not operating. Ukrainian soldiers have been able to liberate several villages in the Chernihiv region in the past couple of days.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Apr 03, 4:20 pm
‘Concentrated evil has come,’ Zelenskyy addresses civilian deaths in Bucha

Following graphic images of casualties coming out of Bucha, Ukraine, after Russian military withdrawal, Ukrainian President President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has strong words about he called, “concentrated evil, in his daily address Sunday. Here are excerpts from that address:

“Hundreds of people were killed. Tortured, executed civilians. Corpses on the streets. Mined area. Even the bodies of the dead were mined!”

“Concentrated evil has come to our land. Murderers. Torturers. Rapists. Looters. Who call themselves the army. And who deserve only death after what they did.”

“I want every mother of every Russian soldier to see the bodies of the killed people in Bucha, in Irpin, in Hostomel. What did they do? Why were they killed? What did the man who was riding his bicycle down the street do? Why were ordinary civilians in an ordinary peaceful city tortured to death? Why were women strangled after their earrings were ripped out of their ears? How could women be raped and killed in front of children? How could their corpses be desecrated even after death? Why did they crush the bodies of people with tanks? What did the Ukrainian city of Bucha do to your Russia? How did all this become possible?”

“All partners of Ukraine will be informed in detail about what happened in the temporarily occupied territory of our state. War crimes in Bucha and other cities during the Russian occupation will also be considered by the UN Security Council on Tuesday.”

Zelenslyy also invited former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Ukraine to witness the carnage.

“We do not blame the West. We do not blame anyone but the specific Russian military who did this against our people,” Zelenskyy, who has pleaded with the U.S. and NATO allies to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine, a measure so far, that President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have refused to do, said.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.