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Zelenskyy accuses Russians of leaving thousands of land mines in the Kyiv area

TOPSHOT - Field engineers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine conduct mine clearing among destroyed vehicles on a street of Bucha on April 5, 2022, as Ukrainian officials say over 400 civilian bodies have been recovered from the wider Kyiv region, many of which were buried in mass graves. - Bucha had been occupied by Russian troops, but when they withdrew recently Ukrainian authorities and independent international journalists including AFP found bodies of people in civilian clothing, some with their hands tied behind their backs. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP) (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Emergency workers conduct mine-clearing operations among destroyed vehicles on a street of Bucha outside of Kyiv last week.

Russia has withdrawn its troops from the area around Kyiv, pulling them back across the border to Belarus. But they've left dangerous mines behind, which present an ongoing threat to civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that the Russian military had left tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of explosive ordinance behind as they retreated.

Thousands of mines are being disposed of daily by Ukrainian officials, he said. Zelenskyy said the Russian military has left mines in homes, on streets, in fields, around cars and in doorways. He added that he thought this should be considered a war crime because these mines are designed to injure or kill civilians.

The presence of mines, some of which may not be found right away, is just another indication of how long it will take to regain a sense of normalcy in the formerly occupied areas.


This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.