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Russo-Ukrainian War: Catch up on this week’s must-read news and analysis | Ukraine

Every week we round up the must-reads of our coverage of the Ukraine war, from news and features to analysis, visual guides and opinions.

“They made him kneel down and shot him in the head”

lucas harding travel to bearing and spoke with a resident who recounted the murder of his nephew, one of the victims of the carnage caused by Russian forces.

Natasha Alexandrova was at home when three Russian soldiers knocked on the front door. It was March 4. Vladimir Putin’s army had captured the town of Bucha, 30 kilometers northwest of kyiv, after fierce fighting. One unit parked at the end of Alexandrova Street.

He lived with his 26-year-old nephew, Volodymyr Cherednichenko, and his mother.

Natasha Alexandrova outside the house in Bucha where her nephew Volodymyr was held prisoner and later killed by Russian troops. Photographer: Volodya Yurchenko/The Guardian

The soldiers pushed Cherednichenko into his armored personnel carrier. His mother brought him a warm coat and shoes. “They told us that they would take him to the city for further questioning and that they would bring him back after three days.”

His body was found weeks later in a dank, damp basement. “They made him kneel down and shot him in the side of the head, in the ear,” Alexandrova said. “He was wearing the same coat his mother gave him.”

Inside Ukraine’s suburban horror: ‘I have nothing left’ – video

Russia’s new general helped turn the tide of war in Syria

Martin Chulov discussed Vladimir Putin’s appointment of a new general to lead efforts to restart the invasion of Ukraine. Gen Aleksandr Dvornikov he played a prominent role in the war in Syria, where forces under his command were responsible for widespread abuses against civilians and were frequently accused of committing crimes against humanity.

Vladimir Putin and Alexander Dvornikov in Moscow
Vladimir Putin and Alexander Dvornikov in Moscow in 2016. Photo: SPUTNIK/Reuters

Putin deemed Russia’s Syrian campaign a success and awarded Dvornikov the Hero of Russia medal, one of the country’s highest awards. Dvornikov, who has served as commander of the southern military district since 2016, faces a very different set of challenges in Ukraine, where the Russian air force does not control the skies and its ground forces have been severely depleted by regular supplies of weapons. advanced that was not available to the Syrian rebels.

Putin ‘uses weapons smuggled by Iran from Iraq’

Russia is receiving ammunition and military equipment from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine with the help of Iranian arms smuggling networks, according to members of Iran-backed Iraqi militias and regional intelligence services with knowledge of the process, they write. . Bethan McKernan Y Vera Mironova.

RPG and anti-tank missiles, as well as rocket launch systems designed by Brazil, have been sent to Russia from Iraq as Moscow’s campaign has failed in the past month, The Guardian has learned. Tehran authorities also donated an Iranian-made Bavar 373 missile system, similar to the Russian S-300, to Moscow, which also returned an S-300, according to a source who helped organize the transport.

Using the arms trade underworld would signal a dramatic shift in Russian strategy, as Moscow is forced to lean on Iran, its military ally in Syria, following new sanctions triggered by the invasion of Ukraine. The developments also have huge implications for the direction and volume of trade in the international arms trade.

Tehran is understood to have donated an Iranian-made Bavar-373 air defense missile system to Moscow.
Tehran is understood to have donated an Iranian-made Bavar-373 air defense missile system to Moscow. Photograph: AP

Long road to recovery after train station attack

Bethan McKernan he also wrote about Ukrainians who narrowly escaped a missile attack and were left with devastating injuries.

The evacuation train that was due to arrive in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk last Friday was late. Andrei Kovalov stood on the busy platform waiting for the service that would take him west, away from the fighting, which is about to engulf his Donetsk hometown of Bakhmut. The 45-year-old man was among 4,000 other civilians at the train station that morning fleeing advancing Russian troops in the east of the country.

The war managed to find them anyway. Before the train arrived in Dnipro, two ballistic missiles exploded over the train station building, releasing deadly cluster munitions, illegal under international law due to the indiscriminate damage they cause over a wide area, throughout the concourse and the luggage room.

“I remember it very clearly. I thought I could hear a plane and then I was thrown to the ground,” Kovalov said from his hospital bed in the Dnipropetrovsk region. “The first minute was total chaos. Emergency response tents caught fire, cars caught fire. There was blood and smoke everywhere.”

Andrey Kovalov
Doctors are hopeful that Andrei Kovalov will walk again after shrapnel lacerated his legs. Photograph: Anastasia Taylor-Lind/The Guardian

How the conspiracy theory about Ukrainian ‘biological weapons labs’ took off

In the hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a long-time QAnon follower tweeted that approximately 30 US-funded projects. ‘biolaboratories’ They were spread across Ukraine. Putin’s assault on Ukraine, he theorized, was actually about stopping a US-orchestrated biological attack on Russia. He was simply remixing an accusation Moscow had made for years: that the United States was running a secret biological weapons program and had Russia in its sights. But from that single tweet, the conspiracy theory spread rapidly.

Even before Tucker Carlson of Fox News expanded on the theory, the Canadian journalist justin ling I had been watching it spread across the internet. He said Michael Saphi that seeing it gain momentum, he was able to see Russia’s techniques for amplifying disinformation in action.

today in focus

The ‘biolabs’ conspiracy theory

‘They took our clothes’: Ukrainians return to their looted homes

When Russian soldiers left the village of Novyi Bykiv after a month of occupation, Natalia Samson returned home to find that perfumes, jewelry, some wine, a motorbike, a fancy cushion and a collection of old coins had been stolen. .

What shaun walker Y andrew roth writing, a few days later she ventured into the village school, where she works as deputy principal, and discovered that the Russians had taken most of the computers, projectors, and other electronic equipment.

“People saw them just loading everything onto Ural trucks, everything they could get their hands on,” Samson said. A dozen houses on the town’s main street had been looted, as had all the shops. Other villagers reported losing washing machines, food, laptops, and even a sofa.

looted houses
Residents returning to Novyi Bykiv found that their homes had been ransacked by Russian soldiers. Cinematography: Svyatoslav Medyk

Are Russia’s weapons of choice getting worse?

dan sabbagh analyzed the indiscriminate use of weapons by Russia that has caused a high number of civilian deaths.

A Russian tank is filmed firing on apartments in Mariupol; evidence emerges that a cluster bomb was used to attack the train station in Kramatorsk and concerns are raised about the possible use of phosphorus in Ukrainian cities. Moscow forces have repeatedly been accused of using indiscriminate weapons in cities during Ukraine’s seven-week war, a disregard for civilian life that has almost certainly led to thousands of needless deaths.

Concerns are also circulating about an escalation of the conflict through the use of other prohibited weapons, but this is less certain. Britain’s Ministry of Defense is still investigating a report from earlier this week that Russia used chemical weapons in Mariupol, affecting three people.

Remains of the city of Bucha after the shelling of the Russian forces
Remains of the city of Bucha after the shelling of the Russian forces Photograph: LOUAI-BARAKAT/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Our visual guide to the invasion is updated regularly and can be found here.

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