Ukraine has appealed to the International Red Cross (ICRC) with a request to take away thousands of Russian soldier corpses as President Volodymyr Zelenkskyy pledges to defend the country, saying he will not surrender.
Russia says its forces have taken control of the key location on the outskirts of Kyiv, a move that means the capital is now “blocked from the West” but the Ukraine government insists that it is fighting successfully to defend against the invasion.
“The command of the Russian troops refuses to take the dead Russian soldiers,” says Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
The Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, Vereshchuk addressed the ICRC with a request to remove the bodies of Russian soldiers from Ukraine during a briefing.
“We ask that the International Red Cross help transport out the bodies of Russian soldiers to the Russian Federation. Here are thousands of bodies of the occupants, this is a humanitarian need, and we ask that the bodies of the Russian occupiers leave the territory of Ukraine and go to the Russian Federation,” Vereshchuk said.
“Red Cross, do everything in your power to solve this humanitarian problem. We once again appeal to the Russians to make it so that the bodies of your sons and your husbands decrease. Otherwise, there will be thousands of them. I ask you that again. Victory will be ours,” said Vereshchuk.
Earlier, martial law was imposed in Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
At 5 a.m. on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a special operation in Donbas following a request for military assistance from separatist groups that he had previously “recognized.”
Western countries have begun imposing new sanctions on Russia over its attack on Ukraine, where Zelenkskyy signed a decree on total mobilization.
The humanitarian needs in Ukraine are increasing every hour. At least 100,000 Ukrainians have left their homes.
The ICRC has been active in Ukraine since 2014 with a team of over 600 staff members working closely with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, in response to the humanitarian needs.
Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader has been frequently accused of involvement in the kidnapping, assassination, and torture of human rights activists, critics, and their relatives said that Chechen fighters under Russian federal control have been deployed in Ukraine.
ICRC supports people with emergency assistance such as food, water, and other essential items, provides hospitals and primary healthcare facilities with medical equipment and emergency preparedness.
The group also repairs water stations and supports households to rehabilitate their damaged homes in an effort to help families separated by the conflict reconnect.
Dozens of people were wounded during the night in Kyiv, but the Ukrainian government is still in control of the capital, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko on Saturday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, clad in military gear and fighting alongside his country’s defenders, thanked Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdogan told Putin that Turkey did not recognize Russia’s actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Zelensky asked Turkey to block Russian warships from traversing the Dardanelles or Bosphorus straits, which link the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.
British sea, land and air forces have arrived in eastern Europe to reinforce NATO’s eastern front, the UK Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, Germany authorized the Netherlands to send 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Ukraine — a shift in the country’s practice of not permitting its weapons to be sent into a conflict zone.
Germany is also working on excluding Russia from the SWIFT interbank system in a “targeted and functional” way that would limit any collateral damage.
“We are working at the same time urgently on limiting the collateral damage from an exclusion from SWIFT so that (the measure) hits the right people,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck say in a joint statement.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Israel is actively recruiting people in Israel to fight against the Russian military as it faces a full-scale invasion.
“The Embassy has begun the formation of lists of volunteers who wish to participate in combat actions against the Russian aggressor,” said a Facebook post in Ukrainian.
Some half-million Israelis are estimated to have Ukrainian roots, with tens of thousands having come only in the past few years, following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea.
The war has spread numerous stories of great valor demonstrated by ordinary people. A Ukrainian man rushed in front of an armored Russian convoy to stop them from advancing and a Ukrainian woman confronted heavily armed Russian soldiers in different videos that emerged online.