All the evidence from Bucha should be investigated and added to other charges of war crimes of the Russian army.
Pentagon press Secretary John Kirby said at a press conference that “it is absolutely obvious not only to us, but to the whole world that Russian forces are responsible for the atrocities in Bucha.”
“Who exactly – which units, whether they are contract soldiers or Chechens – I don’t think we can answer this question right now,” Kirby added.
As for the study of evidence of Russian war crimes, the Pentagon believes that in recent weeks “there is clear evidence that Russian troops have committed war crimes.”
Kirby believes that “all of them should be fully supported by evidence and investigated. Several international organizations are engaged in this. The Department of State is leading the investigation of the American administration.”
“But it is clear that the images from Bucha require further study. What happened there is sickening and disgusting, and we certainly believe that all the evidence from there should be added to the accusations of war crimes and an investigation should be conducted,” Kirby stressed.
The Pentagon also believes that two-thirds of the Russian troops concentrated around Kyiv have left the area, but about one-third of the troops still remain there. Those Russian forces that have withdrawn to Belarus are regrouping there, resupplying and manpower, and will be sent back to Ukraine for combat operations in another area. The Pentagon is still assuming that “troops will be transferred to the Donbass region, but so far this is only an assumption. As soon as the movement of these troops begins, all information will be updated based on daily updates.”
When asked by journalists whether the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv could be called a victory for Ukrainian forces, Kirby said: “I would leave it to President Zelenskiy to decide whether it is a victory or not. We do not deal with such characteristics. I would say that the maximum goals originally set by Putin have clearly not been achieved.”
At the same time, the Pentagon stressed that “all this does not mean that the ground threat to Kyiv has been removed,” given the Russian troops remaining in the area.
“The truth is that we don’t know exactly what Putin’s long-term goal is here. We see evidence that the Russians, as they say, want to focus on the Donbass. But for how long and what is their ultimate goal there, as well as how it will affect the strategic goals of this war, the United States is still unclear,” Kirby said.
Also, according to the estimates of the U.S. military, there are no serious changes in the situation around Mariupol. Fierce fighting for Mariupol continues. There are no signs that Russian troops have achieved any success in taking Mariupol, so there is still a very fierce struggle for the city.
In the area of Kherson, in the last few days, the Russian military found themselves “as if squeezed between Kherson and Nikolaev.” And now, according to American estimates, they have largely switched to defense around Kherson.
The Pentagon does not observe major changes in the control of airspace in the combat area. Russian forces are still carrying out more than 200 sorties a day, which is not much different from the last few days. Most of the Russian airstrikes are concentrated in the area of Izyum, where the troops are being pulled together.