Catch Up: It’s Early Morning In Kyiv. Here’s What You Need To Know

Catch Up: It’s Early Morning In Kyiv. Here’s What You Need To Know

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10 min agoMass graves near Mariupol are evidence of war crimes, Ukrainian officials sayFrom CNN’s Nathan Hodge, Julia Presniakova, Katie Polglase, Jennifer Hauser, Hira Humayun and Julia Hollingsworth

Ukrainian officials say they have identified mass graves outside the city of Mariupol, which they say adds to mounting proof of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians.

The claim is supported by photos collected and analyzed by US satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies that appears to show more than 200 new graves at a site on the northwestern edge of Manhush, a town around 12 miles (19 kilometers) to the west of Mariupol.

An estimated 100,000 people remain trapped in Mariupol which has been under constant bombardment since it was surrounded by Russian forces on March 1, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukrainian officials claim that more than 20,000 people in the city have died during the assault.

In a post Thursday on messaging app Telegram, Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said Russian trucks had collected bodies from the port city, before “dumping them” in Manhush.

“This is direct evidence of war crimes and attempts to cover them up,” he said.

CNN cannot independently verify claims Russians have disposed of bodies in mass graves at that location. A firm death toll following weeks of heavy bombardment of Mariupol is not available.

However, journalists in Mariupol have documented the hasty burial of civilians in the besieged city, and images have surfaced on social media showing bodies apparently left for collection in the city.

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30 min agoRussian troops use rape as “an instrument of war” in Ukraine, rights groups allegeFrom CNN’s Tara John, Oleksandra Ochman and Sandi Sidhu

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine and began closing in on its capital, Kyiv, Andrii Dereko begged his 22-year-old stepdaughter Karina Yershova to leave the suburb where she lived.

But Yershova insisted she wanted to remain in Bucha, telling him: “Don’t talk nonsense, everything will be fine — there will be no war,” he said.

With her tattoos and long brown hair, Yershova stood out in a crowd, her stepfather said.

As Russian soldiers surrounded Bucha in early March, Yershova hid in an apartment with two other friends. When weeks went by without a word from Yershova, the family became desperate for news. 

Her mother was told by friends that images of a dead woman with similar tattoos to Yershova’s – which included a rose on her forearm – had been posted on a Telegram group set up by a detective in Bucha who was trying to identify hundreds of bodies found in the town after Russian troops withdrew from the area two weeks ago.

Dereko says the images, seen by CNN, show his stepdaughter’s mutilated body. Police told the family she had been killed by Russian soldiers.

“They mutilated her. They shot her in the leg, and then gave her a tourniquet to stop her bleeding. And then they shot her in the temple.” It looked like she was tortured or put up a fight, he said.

Dereko also believes Yershova was sexually abused by Russian troops. “The [police] investigator hinted” that she had been raped, he said.

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1 hr 1 min agoIt’s 7 a.m. in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to knowAs Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the effort to capture Mariupol from Ukraine a “success” and ordered his forces to halt outside the city’s besieged Azovstal steel factory, US President Joe Biden said Thursday it was “questionable” whether the city had fallen. Meanwhile, an estimated tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol remain trapped by air and ground attacks with little opportunity to evacuate safely, and satellite images point to evidence of mass graves outside the city.

Here are the latest developments on Russia’s war in Ukraine:

Siege of Mariupol a “terrorist operation,” Zelensky says: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that “thousands” of civilians remain blockaded inside Mariupol as he likened the Russian siege to a “terrorist operation.” Ukrainian officials on Tuesday also identified the location of apparent mass graves outside the city, claims bolstered by the publication of satellite images collected and analyzed by Maxar Technologies.Mariupol evacuations are moving slowly, deputy PM says: The evacuation of civilians is going “very slowly,” according to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, amid intense attacks from Russian forces. “On the Russian side, everything is very complicated, chaotic, slow and, of course, dishonest,” Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram. Ukrainian commanders on the ground have said Russian forces have not honored agreements to open evacuation corridors or enforce ceasefires.Ukraine alleges Russian orders were given to kill POWs: Ukraine’s military intelligence on Wednesday released a purported communications intercept of Russian armed forces referring to an alleged order to kill Ukrainian prisoners of war in the city of Popasna in the eastern region of Luhansk, which is bearing the brunt of Russia’s renewed attack. It appears to feature Russian soldiers saying: “Keep the most senior among them, and let the rest go forever. Let them go forever, damn it, so that no one will ever see them again, including relatives.” Neighboring nations say Russia committed genocide: The Estonian and Latvian parliaments adopted statements on Thursday saying Russia has committed genocide in Ukraine, citing mass graves and atrocities discovered in areas since vacated by Russian forces. Annexations will cripple Russia, Zelensky says: Zelensky warned Russia on Thursday that any attempts at annexation — similar to Crimea or the so-called breakaway republics in the nation’s east — will lead to sanctions that will leave Russia as poor as it was after its civil war in 1917. “I want to say straight away: any ‘Kherson People’s Republics’ are not going to fly,” he said.US sends more aid to Ukraine: Saying there was a “critical window” as Russian forces build up in the east of Ukraine, Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine. The new package would include heavy artillery and drones, he said Thursday, along with ammunition.1 hr 3 min agoEstonian and Latvian parliaments say Russia has committed genocideFrom CNN’s Jennifer Hauser

The Estonian and Latvian parliaments adopted statements on Thursday saying Russia has committed genocide in Ukraine.

In its statement, Estonia said “systematic and massive war crimes have been committed against the Ukrainian nation by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” according to its parliament, the Riigikogu.

It cited the towns of Bucha, Borodianka, Hostomel, Irpin and Mariupol as well as other settlements that were occupied by Russian forces.

“The Russian Federation has committed acts of genocide, inter alia mass atrocities against the civilian population. These have consisted of murders, enforced disappearances, deportations, imprisonment, torture, rape, and desecration of corpses,” the statement said.Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, unanimously adopted the statement, saying it was based on “extensive testimonies and evidence of brutal mass atrocities — the murders, torture, sexual violence and desecration of Ukrainian civilians, including women and children.”

“As a member state of the UN, the Council of Europe, the EU, and NATO and a defender of democratic values, Latvia cannot accept the actions of the Russian Federation, carrying out mass destruction of Ukrainian people,” it said in a press release.What is genocide: The UN defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” Genocide is when crimes against humanity are carried out with the goal of eliminating a population.

US President Joe Biden recently called the 

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