Russia claims it will reduce “military activity” around the capital after Ukrainian troops regained a number of territories.
Ukraine’s military says they have “eliminated” another Russian colonel, adding to a long list of high-ranking Russian military personnel wiped out in Putin’s war against Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that Colonel Denis Kurilo, the commander of the 200th separate motorized rifle brigade, was killed outside Kharkiv.
Kurilo’s reported death, on the 34th day of the Kremlin’s “special operation,” comes after at least seven Russian generals were killed in Ukraine, according to both Ukrainian and Western officials.
It also comes as the Ukrainian military announced several territorial gains, with the northeastern town of Trostyanets liberated from Russian troops and several areas outside Kyiv reported back in the hands of Ukraine. The military said territories in the Chernihiv region were also liberated.
The mayor of the town of Irpin outside Kyiv—which has been decimated by Russian bombs as Putin’s troops sought a foothold over the Ukrainian capital—said Russian forces had been completely pushed out.
Authorities there have begun the grim task of clearing out the dead, he said, adding that some of the bodies of those killed by Russian troops had apparently been mined.
Meanwhile, perhaps in light of these setbacks, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a decision Tuesday to drastically reduce operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv.
The announcement came as Kyiv and Moscow held renewed peace talks in Istanbul, where Vladimir Medinsky, the Putin adviser appointed the head of the Russian delegation, described the troop reductions as “two steps toward deescalation of the conflict.”
CNN’s Jim Sciutto, citing two senior U.S. officials, reported that Russia had already begun to withdraw troops from around the capital, with Battalion Tactical Groups seen moving out.
But Western officials were largely skeptical of the announcement, with many pointing out that Moscow seemed to only be promising de-escalation in areas where they were already losing ground.
A U.S. official cited by Reuters went even further, describing Russian troop movements around Kyiv as a “redeployment, not a withdrawal,” and warning that other areas of Ukraine should still expect to be bombarded.
Tellingly, even as Russian officials touted their supposed military pullback on Tuesday, the administrative building of Mykolaiv was struck by Russian missile fire that left at least nine people dead and 28 others injured, according to local authorities.
Hours later, Russian forces attacked an airfield in Starokonstantinov in the Khmelnytskyi region, though there were no immediate reports of injuries.