Ukraine retakes whole Kyiv region as direct Putin/Zelenskyy peace talks 'possible'

2 April 2022, 20:36 | Updated: 2 April 2022, 23:32

Ukraine says it has retaken control of the whole of the Kyiv region
Ukraine says it has retaken control of the whole of the Kyiv region. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

Draft peace treaty documents with Russia could be advanced enough for direct talks between Zelenskyy and Putin, according to a Ukrainian negotiator.

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A Kyiv-based agency is reporting that Moscow representatives have accepted their neighbours' overall position, with the exception of Crimea.

It comes as Urkaine's deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar announced Ukrainian forces had recaptured the whole of the Kyiv region.

"The whole Kyiv region is liberated from the invader," she wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Key areas retaken by Ukraine include Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, all of which have been the sites of heavy fighting.

Read more: Retreating Russian troops booby trap homes and corpses, Zelenskyy warns

Read more: Russia vows to target British weapons after helicopter shot down with 'Starstreak' missile

Earlier on Saturday, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Russian forces were thought to have withdrawn from the key Hostomel airport, and Ukraine had retaken a number of villages near the capital.

"Ukrainian forces continue to advance against withdrawing Russian forces in the vicinity of Kyiv," said the MoD.

"Russian forces are reported to have withdrawn from Hostomel airport, which has been subject to fighting since the first day of the conflict."

John Sweeney reports from Kyiv as Russian forces retreat

UK Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday evening, where he is said to have offered his congratulations to the Ukrainian army.

"He congratulated Ukraine's brave armed forces for successfully pushing back Russia's invading army in a number of areas, but recognised the huge challenges that remain and the immense suffering being inflicted on civilians," said a Downing Street spokesperson.

Read more: Russia ends cooperation on international space station and demands end to sanctions

Read more: Putin is motivated to 'internationalise' Ukraine war to rest of Europe - former RUSI DG

Despite the victory, Russian forces retreating from around Kyiv have been accused of creating a "catastrophic" situation for civilians.

President Zelenksyy said Kremlin forces had left mines across "the whole territory", even setting booby traps around corpses and homes.

And some of the cities returned to Ukrainian hands have suffered enormous losses.

In the devastated town of Bucha, hundreds of people were buried in mass graves.

The bodies of other civilians were found in the streets - at least one of which had their hands tied, according to the AFP news agency.

Putin may 'internationalise' the Ukraine crisis

Russia said earlier this week it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital, as well as the northern city of Chernihiv.

But Ukraine and its allies warned that the Kremlin is not de-escalating to promote trust at the bargaining table - as it claimed - but instead resupplying and shifting its troops to the country's east.

Read more: Putin’s advisers ‘too scared’ to tell him truth about disastrous Ukraine invasion

Read more: Russian troops accused of slaughtering civilians as they withdraw from Bucha near Kyiv

Elsewhere in Ukraine, evacuation efforts have continued.

A total of 765 residents managed to escape the port city of Mariupol in private vehicles on Saturday night, according to Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

In total, over 4,200 people have been evacuated from war zones across the country on Saturday.

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