Russia captures east Ukraine town Kreminna, honours Brigade accused of Bucha carnage for 'mass heroism'
Putin on 18 April signed a decree, giving the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of Guards for their defense of the 'motherland and state interests' and praised the 'mass heroism and valor, tenacity, and courage' of its members
Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, Moscow president Vladimir Putin has bestowed an honorary title on a brigade accused by Ukraine of committing war crimes in the town of Bucha.
On 18 April, Putin signed a decree, giving the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of Guards for their defense of the "motherland and state interests" and praised the "mass heroism and valor, tenacity, and courage" of its members.
The Defence Ministry in Ukraine said the unit committed war crimes during its occupation of Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv, and has vowed to seek justice for the victims.
A majority of the civilians in Bucha were killed from gunshot wounds, Ukrainian police said last week. Some of the victims had their hands tied behind their back.
However, the Russian authorities claim that its forces have not attacked civilians in Ukraine and said videos from Bucha showing the bodies of civilians lying in the streets were staged in order to justify new Western sanctions and disrupt cease-fire negotiations.
Meanwhile, Russian troops on Monday captured the east Ukraine town of Kreminna, as armed forces in Kyiv launch salvoes on Russian forces in the nearby settlement of Rubizhne.
The Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday in a statement said, "There was a major attack in the night" from Sunday to Monday in Kreminna.
"The Russian army has already entered there, with a huge amount of military hardware... Our defenders have retreated to new positions," Gaiday added.
Ukraine's security and defence council secretary Oleksiy Danilov confirmed the Russian offensive in the east. "Almost along the entire front line in the territory of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv regions, the invaders tried to break through our defences. Fortunately, our military is holding on," he added.
Kreminna, with a pre-war population of nearly 20,000 people, is around 50 kilometres (31 miles) northeast of Kramatorsk, the region's administrative centre, and is a strategic target for invading Russian forces.
With inputs from agencies