Russian troops near Kharkiv died after eating poisoned stuffed buns given to them as “gifts” by Ukrainian citizens, a Ukrainian intelligence agency has claimed.
Two soldiers from the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division died immediately after eating the delicacies served by the citizens of Izium, a Facebook post from the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine said on Saturday.
Another 28 Russian soldiers are in intensive care after the poisoning and several hundred others are also suffering from “serious illnesses” after drinking poisoned alcohol given to them by civilians.
In the message, the agency said: “Ukrainians are resisting the occupiers with all available means. According to available information, residents of the Izium district (Kharkiv region) “treated” Russians of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division of the Russian Federation with poison pies.
“As a result, two occupants died at the same time, 28 others were taken to the intensive care unit. Their current status is being clarified.
“About 500 other servicemen of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division of the Russian Federation are hospitalized with severe alcohol poisoning of unknown origin.”
Russia reportedly viewed the troops as ‘non-combat casualties’ as it began to pivot its war effort to focus on fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, n’ having failed to encircle kyiv in the first six weeks of the war.
The sabotage is the latest in a civil war campaign by Ukrainians seeking to defy Russian attempts to capture their cities.
Izium is expected to see more fights in the coming weeks as Putin scrambles desperately to reverse his fortunes after a bumpy start to his invasion of Ukraine.
It is a city of strategic importance to Russia as it would allow troops to use it as a base for sustained assaults in the Donbass and allow Putin to resupply his troops, as the city is close to the Russian border.
Control of the city would allow the Russians to coordinate with forces fighting further south in the Donbass region and to divide the eastern front and isolate Ukrainian forces in the south from those fighting in the north.
The poisoning comes as mass graves of civilian corpses were discovered on the outskirts of kyiv after the claimed Russian retreat yesterday.
The graves were discovered after Ukraine recaptured “the entire Kyiv region” from Russian troops, according to the country’s deputy defense minister yesterday.
In a statement posted on social media, Hanna Maliar said: “Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel and the whole Kyiv region have been liberated from the invader.”
Irpin and Bucha, suburban towns outside kyiv, were taken over by the Ukrainian army this week. Both towns suffered extensive destruction and a high number of civilian deaths.
Horrifying images have emerged of bodies strewn on the streets of the suburban town of Bucha, which was retaken by Ukrainian forces on Friday.
The mayor of Bucha said 280 people were buried in a mass grave in the town and dead bodies litter the streets.
“All of these people were shot, killed, in the back of the head,” he said.
He added that many of the bodies had white bandages “to show they were unarmed” and that a 14-year-old boy was among the dead.
He claimed that some of the victims tried to cross the Buchanka River into Ukrainian-held territory and entire families perished, including “children, women, grandmothers.” These are the consequences of the Russian occupation,” he added.
At least 200 people have been killed in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, while Gostomel, near Kyiv, was the scene of fierce fighting to take control of the airfield.
The Ukrainians claimed that Russian forces had “trapped corpses and executed civilians while withdrawing from the recaptured area of kyiv”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted her outrage at the scenes.
Truss tweeted: ‘Appalled by the atrocities in Bucha and other cities in Ukraine. Reports that Russian forces are targeting innocent civilians are abhorrent. The UK is working with others to gather evidence and support [the International Criminal Court] war crimes investigation. Those responsible will be held accountable.
Ukraine has said Russia is pulling out of northern regions and appears to be focusing on the east and south of the country.
Downing Street said Boris Johnson called to praise Ukrainian President Zelensky’s “brave armed forces” for successfully repelling invading Russian forces and agreed to continue to increase economic pressure on Vladimir Putin.