Key developments on April 27:
- Court sentences Russian soldier to life in prison for killing 1, injuring 3 Ukrainians
- Russian serviceman admits killing POWs after interrogations, intercepted call allege
- Mayor: Collaborator killed in Zaporizhzhia Oblast
- US commander confident in success of Ukraine's counteroffensive
Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) published an intercepted phone call alleging another Russian soldier committed war crimes in Ukraine.
In the intercepted call, a Russian soldier admitted that he repeatedly killed Ukrainian prisoners of war by cutting their throats after interrogating them.
"Because we get all the information from them. There is no point in keeping them anymore… they need to be disposed of," the Russian serviceman allegedly said over the phone.
SBU said the man talking was Yevgeny Suchko, 28, from Russia's Novgorod region. Suchko was mobilized during Russia's mobilization campaign in the fall of last year. He was deployed in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast since then.
In an intercepted call, Suchko described in detail how he cut POW's throats, adding he's done that "a lot."
"This is not the first time for me. I don't give a f*ck," Suchko allegedly told a woman over the phone, adding that he planned to commit another war crime after the call.
Executions and tortures of POWs breach the Geneva Conventions and constitute war crimes.
Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on April 17 that his office had received "several dozens" of videos allegedly showing executions of Ukrainian POWs carried out by Russian soldiers.
According to the Prosecutor General's Office, 80,000 Russian war crimes in Ukraine are currently being investigated.
Life sentence for war crimes
The Chernihiv Oblast court sentenced a Russian soldier to life for shooting a civilian car with four people inside on Feb. 26, 2022, the Prosecutor General's Office said on April 27.
The prosecutors said one woman was killed, and three other people were wounded.
The court convicted a Russian serviceman of violating the laws and customs of war, combined with premeditated murder.
The Prosecutor General's Office said that Russian forces stopped a car in Krupychpole village in northern Chernihiv Oblast two days into the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops opened fire at a car with four people inside – a man and woman, their daughter, and their son-in-law.
After shooting a civilian car, Russian troops left the scene, according to the report.
Ukraine's regional authorities said dozens of civilians, including children, have been killed and injured in attacks on cars trying to flee the northern oblasts, invaded by Russia in February 2022.
Collaborator killed in Melitopol explosion
Oleksandr Mishchenko, a Russian proxy police chief in occupied Melitopol in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, was killed in an explosion, Mayor Ivan Fedorov said on April 27.
Fedorov lives in Ukrainian-controlled territory.
Prior to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Mishchenko headed the Melitopol police department. He became a collaborator after Russian troops occupied the town in late February 2022.
The explosion reportedly occurred in the early morning in downtown Melitopol. Mishchenko died in the hospital, Fedorov said.
Vladimir Rogov, a Russian proxy in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, said two "police officers" had been injured, one of whom later died, without giving the name.
Explosions are heard regularly in Meltipol and other Russian-occupied areas where partisan movement is active. Aside from Russian troops, explosions often target local collaborators.
Melitopol is an important rail hub that links Russia to occupied Crimea.
Guardian: UK company registered on Russian proxy official despite sanctions
The Guardian reported on April 27 that a U.K. business was allegedly registered on a Russian proxy official of occupied Kherson Oblast Volodymyr Saldo five months after the British government imposed sanctions against him.
Company documents show that Grainholding Ltd., which holds over $1.2 million in capital, is allegedly partly owned by Saldo.
The Guardian found the company registered in central London, of which Saldo has been listed as the proprietor since November. A representative of the property denied they have connections to Saldo.
Grainholding Ltd is still listed as an active entity, the Guardian reported.
Since Russian troops occupied southern Kherson Oblast in the first days of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Saldo has been placed as the proxy head of the Russian occupation administration in the region.
Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing for over a year, yet "proposals that would make it a crime for people under sanctions to set up U.K. companies have yet to become law," according to the Guardian.
Saldo was sanctioned by Ukraine, the U.K., the U.S., the EU, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and New Zealand.
The U.K. officials said he is guilty of "promoting policies and actions which destabilize Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine."
Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive
U.S. General Christopher Cavoli, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said he is "very confident" in the success of Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive, Voice of America reported on April 26.
Cavoli is confident that Ukraine's forces have plenty of military hardware and supplies essential to support their advances, and that they will not be held back by their current stockpiles.
Ukraine has received almost all the military supplies, including combat vehicles, pledged by NATO countries, which are intended to support the upcoming counteroffensive.
Some U.S. officials said on April 24 Ukraine's counteroffensive could begin as soon as May.
Comments made by Russian officials, including Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, highlighted a "pervasive anxiety" over an upcoming Ukraine's counteroffensive, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest report on April 26.
The ISW said that disjointed rhetoric in the Russian information space surrounding the counteroffensive indicated the lack of a unified strategy for addressing this concern.
Russian officials are also attempting to secure occupied Crimea and prepare other locations for Ukraine's counteroffensive by transferring armored vehicles and artillery systems, according to the ISW.
Additionally, Russian troops had set up combat positions on the roofs of several reactors at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence update on April 27.
This is the first indication of the plant's buildings to be directly used as part of Moscow's defense planning over a year into occupation, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Russia focuses its main military efforts on Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka in Donetsk Oblast, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said in its update on April 27.
The most intense fighting is ongoing in Bakhmut and Marinka, a small town just west of Russian-occupied Donetsk, the military said.
Ukraine's counteroffensive was being planned "in several areas," Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in late March.
At the same time, "complex measures" of Ukraine's planned counteroffensive are "already underway" in the east, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on April 19. Maliar also said the counteroffensive should not be reduced to specific dates and activities.