Police Say 269 Bodies Recovered in Ukraine’s War-Torn Irpin

Relatives light candles while attending the funeral of Anatoliy Kolesnikov, 30, and Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, both territorial defense soldiers who were killed by Russian, in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP)
Relatives light candles while attending the funeral of Anatoliy Kolesnikov, 30, and Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, both territorial defense soldiers who were killed by Russian, in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP)
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Police Say 269 Bodies Recovered in Ukraine’s War-Torn Irpin

Relatives light candles while attending the funeral of Anatoliy Kolesnikov, 30, and Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, both territorial defense soldiers who were killed by Russian, in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP)
Relatives light candles while attending the funeral of Anatoliy Kolesnikov, 30, and Oleksandr Mozheiko, 31, both territorial defense soldiers who were killed by Russian, in Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP)

Ukrainian investigators have examined 269 dead bodies in Irpin, near Kyiv, since the town was taken back from Russian forces in late March, a police official said on Monday, as workers dug fresh graves on its outskirts.

The town, which had a pre-war population of about 62,000, was one of the main hotspots of fighting with Russian troops before they pulled back from Ukraine's northern regions to intensify their offensive in the east.

At a cemetery on the outskirts of Irpin, dozens of new graves have been dug and heaped with wreaths. Under the watch of a few tearful mourners, workers hurriedly shoveled the sandy earth into one grave on Monday.

"As of now, we have inspected 269 dead bodies," said Serhiy Panteleyev, first deputy head of the police's main investigation department, at an online briefing.

He said forensic work was ongoing to determine the cause of death for many of the victims, sharing photos of severely charred human remains.

He said seven sites in Irpin where civilians were allegedly shot have been inspected, without giving further details.

Russia denies targeting civilians and has dismissed allegations its troops committed war crimes in occupied areas of Ukraine.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.