Two Russian soldiers have died and 28 are very ill after being given poisoned pastries by Ukrainian civilians, Ukraine’s intelligence agency has claimed.
The troops from Russia’s 3rd Motor Rifle Division died immediately after eating the food in Izium, Kharkiv, the country’s Main Directorate of Intelligence announced in a Facebook post on Saturday.
A further 28 soldiers are in intensive care following the poisoning, while about 500 more are in hospital suffering from heavy alcohol poisoning, according to the post.
Officials claimed Russia was writing the troops off as “non-combat losses”.
The agency said in the post: “Ukrainians resist the occupiers by all available means.
“According to available information, local residents of the Izium district (Kharkiv region) ‘treated’ Russians from the 3rd Motor Rifle Division of the Russian Federation with poisoned pies.
“As a result, two occupiers died at once, another 28 were taken to the intensive care unit. Their current state is being clarified.
“About 500 more servicemen of the 3rd Motor Rifle Division of the Russian Federation are in hospitals due to severe alcohol poisoning of unknown origin.”
Russian troops handed control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant back to Ukrainians and left the heavily-contaminated site on Thursday after soldiers reportedly suffered radiation poisoning.
Ukrainian state nuclear company Energoatom said the withdrawal from Chernobyl came after soldiers received “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed plant, although there has been no independent confirmation of this.
The withdrawal took place amid growing suspicions that the Kremlin is using talk of de-escalation in Ukraine as cover while regrouping, resupplying its forces and redeploying them for a stepped-up offensive in the eastern part of the country.
Mass graves with civilians tied up and “bullet holes at the back of their heads” have been found in areas where Russian troops are pulling back, according to the Ukraine government.
The spokesman for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said the full horror uncovered in cities near Kyiv as Vladimir Putin’s forces abandon attempts to conquer the capital.