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Ukraine Accuses Russia of Massacre, City Strewn With Bodies | World News

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By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and NEBI QENA, Associated Press

BUCHA, Ukraine (AP) — Bodies with sure palms, close-range gunshot wounds and indicators of torture lay scattered in a metropolis on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian troopers withdrew from the realm. Ukrainian authorities accused the departing forces on Sunday of committing battle crimes and abandoning a “scene from a horror movie.”

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As photos of the our bodies — of folks whom residents mentioned have been killed indiscriminately — started to emerge from Bucha, a slew of European leaders condemned the atrocities and referred to as for more durable sanctions in opposition to Moscow. In an indication of how the horrific studies shook many leaders, Germany’s protection minister even recommended that the European Union take into account banning Russian fuel imports.

So far, the our bodies of 410 civilians have been present in Kyiv-area cities that have been not too long ago retaken from Russian forces, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general, Iryna Venediktova, mentioned.

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Associated Press journalists noticed the our bodies of not less than 21 folks in numerous spots round Bucha, northwest of the capital. One group of 9, all in civilian garments, have been scattered round a web site that residents mentioned Russian troops used as a base. They appeared to have been killed at shut vary. At least two had their palms tied behind their backs, one was shot within the head, and one other’s legs have been sure.

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Ukrainian officers laid the blame for the killings in Bucha and different Kyiv suburbs squarely on the ft of Russian troops, with the president calling them proof of genocide. But Russia’s Defense Ministry rejected the accusations as “provocation.”

The discoveries adopted the Russian retreat from the realm across the capital, territory that has seen heavy preventing since troops invaded Ukraine from three instructions on Feb. 24. Troops who swept in from Belarus to the north spent weeks attempting to clear a path to Kyiv, however their advance stalled within the face of resolute protection from Ukraine’s forces.

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Moscow now says it’s focusing its offensive on the nation’s east, however it additionally pressed a siege on a metropolis within the north and continued to strike cities elsewhere in a battle that has left hundreds lifeless and compelled greater than 4 million Ukrainians to flee their nation.

Russian troops rolled into Bucha within the early days of the invasion and stayed as much as March 30. With these forces gone, residents gave harrowing accounts Sunday, saying troopers shot and killed civilians without any obvious purpose.

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One resident, who refused to provide his identify out of worry for his security, mentioned that Russian troops went constructing to constructing and took folks out of the basements the place they have been hiding, checking their telephones for any proof of anti-Russian exercise and taking them away or capturing them.

Hanna Herega, one other resident, mentioned Russian troops started capturing at a neighbor who had gone out to assemble wooden for heating.

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“They hit him a bit above the heel, crushing the bone, and he fell down,” Herega mentioned. “Then they shot off his left leg fully, with the boot. Then they shot him throughout.”

The AP additionally noticed two our bodies, that of a person and a girl, wrapped in plastic that residents mentioned they’d coated and positioned in a shaft till a correct funeral could possibly be organized.

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“He put his palms up, they usually shot him,” mentioned the resident who refused to be recognized.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, described our bodies mendacity the streets of the suburbs of Irpin and Hostomel in addition to Bucha as a “scene from a horror movie.” He alleged that some of the ladies discovered lifeless had been raped earlier than being killed and the Russians then burned the our bodies.

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“This is genocide,” Zelenskyy informed CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

But Russia’s Defense Ministry mentioned in an announcement that the images and movies of lifeless our bodies “have been stage managed by the Kyiv regime for the Western media.” It famous that Bucha’s mayor didn’t point out any abuses a day after Russian troops left.

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Russia additionally requested for a gathering Monday of the U.N. Security Council to debate occasions within the metropolis, which it blamed on “Ukrainian provocateurs and their Western patrons.” The U.S. and Britain have not too long ago accused Russia of utilizing Security Council conferences to unfold disinformation.

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In Motyzhyn, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Kyiv, residents informed AP on Sunday that Russian troops killed the city’s mayor, her husband and her son and threw their our bodies right into a pit in a pine forest behind homes the place Russian forces had slept. Inside the pit, AP journalists noticed 4 our bodies of individuals who appeared to have been shot at shut vary. The mayor’s husband had his palms behind his again, with a chunk of rope close by, and a chunk of plastic wrapped round his eyes like a blindfold.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk confirmed that the mayor was killed whereas being held by Russian forces.

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Some European leaders mentioned the killings within the Kyiv space amounted to battle crimes. The U.S. has beforehand mentioned that it believes Russia has dedicated battle crimes, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken referred to as photos of what occurred close to Kyiv “a punch to the intestine” on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“It is a brutality in opposition to civilians we haven’t seen in Europe for many years,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned on the identical present.

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Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko referred to as on nations to right away finish Russian fuel imports, saying they have been funding the killings.

In a turnaround, Germany’s protection minister mentioned that the EU ought to take into account doing simply that. Ministers “must speak about halting fuel provides from Russia,” Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht mentioned Sunday evening on German public broadcaster ARD. “Such crimes should not go unanswered.”

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Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s fuel and 25% of its oil, and till now many EU nations have resisted calls to scale again or totally finish reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Giving them up would imply even increased prices on the pump and better utility payments, probably creating an vitality disaster and a recession.

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The U.S. has beforehand introduced a ban on Russian oil, however it imports solely a small share of Russia’s oil exports and doesn’t purchase any of its pure fuel.

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As Russian forces retreated from the realm across the capital, they pressed their sieges in different components of the nation. Russia has mentioned it’s directing troops to the Donbas in jap Ukraine, the place Russia-backed separatists have been preventing Ukrainian forces for eight years.

In that area, Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov that has seen some of the battle’s best struggling, remained minimize off. About 100,000 civilians — lower than 1 / 4 of the prewar inhabitants of 430,000 — are believed to be trapped there with little or no meals, water, gas and drugs.

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The International Committee of the Red Cross mentioned Sunday {that a} crew despatched Saturday to assist evacuate residents had but to succeed in the town.

Ukrainian authorities mentioned Russia agreed days in the past to permit secure passage from the town, however related agreements have damaged down repeatedly underneath continued shelling.

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The mayor of Chernihiv, which has additionally been minimize off from shipments of meals and different provides for weeks, mentioned Sunday that relentless Russian shelling has destroyed 70% of the northern metropolis.

The regional governor in Kharkiv mentioned Sunday that Russian artillery and tanks launched over 20 strikes on Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis and its outskirts within the nation’s northeast over the previous day.

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The head of Ukraine’s delegation in talks with Russia mentioned Moscow’s negotiators informally agreed to most of a draft proposal mentioned throughout face-to-face talks in Istanbul this week, however no written affirmation has been supplied.

Qena reported from Motyzhyn, Ukraine. Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Associated Press journalists around the globe contributed to this report.

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Follow the AP’s protection of the battle at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Migrant Flights’ Mysterious Recruiter Identified

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The mysterious lady who allegedly lured dozens of migrants on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ flights to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio has been recognized by a number of media retailers as Perla H. Huerta, a former fight medic and U.S. Army counterintelligence agent residing in Tampa.

The New York Times reported late Sunday {that a} Venezuelan migrant who was working with Huerta to recruit migrants confirmed her id, and a migrant in San Antonio whom Huerta had unsuccessfully sought to enroll recognized a photograph of her.

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CNN reported {that a} pal of Huerta confirmed her id in a photograph offered by a migrant. Pictures have been circulating of the girl — till now identified merely as “Perla” — after she allegedly recruited lots of the 48 Venezuelan migrants outdoors a city-operated shelter in downtown San Antonio and moved them at a La Quinta Inn, earlier than they have been flown to the upscale Massachusetts island on the expense of Florida taxpayers.

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The San Antonio Express-News, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, which incorporates San Antonio, considers Huerta, 43, a “individual of curiosity” in its felony investigation into the incident.

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The sheriff’s workplace stated Monday it has not confirmed or recognized any individuals of curiosity within the ongoing investigation, in response to Johnny Garcia, a spokesperson. Asked about Huerta, Garcia had instructed the Express-News, “We are usually not publicly figuring out anyone.”

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The Associated Press tried quite a few telephone numbers and emails for potential matches for Perla H. Huerta or potential family members, and obtained no reply or the traces have been disconnected.

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Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar has stated he’s trying into whether or not the migrants have been lied to or if the 2 flights final month broke any legal guidelines. Some migrants have stated they have been enticed with McDonald’s reward playing cards and guarantees of jobs and housing that by no means materialized.

U.S. Army spokesperson Madison Bonzo confirmed to the AP {that a} Perla H. Huerta left the navy in August and served as a fight medic and labored in counterintelligence. She held the rank of grasp sergeant when she left the service and had deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti.

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Former Kentucky Lawmaker Sentenced to Prison in Fraud Case

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LONDON, Ky. (AP) — Former Kentucky lawmaker Robert Goforth was sentenced Monday to two years and one month in federal jail for well being care fraud and money laundering.

Goforth, who resigned from the Kentucky House in 2021, additionally faces two years of supervised launch, media shops reported.

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Goforth ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 2019.

Goforth pleaded responsible in May 2022, admitting {that a} pharmacy he owned in Clay County billed insurance coverage applications, together with Medicare and Medicaid, for prescriptions that prospects didn’t choose up, in accordance to courtroom information. The pharmacy multiplied income by shopping for a dose of drugs as soon as after which “successfully promoting it a number of instances,” in accordance to Goforth’s plea settlement.

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U.S. District Judge Robert Wier imposed the sentence at a federal courthouse in Laurel County. Wier stated the sentence ought to function a deterrent to others in the well being care system who try to abuse the belief of others.

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In a tearful assertion, Goforth informed Wier that he was ashamed of what he had performed and apologized to his victims and his household.

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Fraud, Scam Cases Increasing on Zelle, Senate Report Finds

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By KEN SWEET, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Incidents of fraud and scams are occurring extra usually on the favored peer-to-peer cost service Zelle, in accordance with a report issued Monday by the workplace of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, giving the general public its first glimpse into the rising issues at Zelle.

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The report additionally discovered that the massive banks that partly personal Zelle have been reluctant to compensate clients who’ve been victims of fraud or scams. For occasion, lower than half of the money clients reported being despatched by way of Zelle without authorization was being reimbursed.

Warren, D-Massachusetts, a long-time critic of the massive banks, requested information on fraud and scams on Zelle from seven banks beginning in April. The report cites information from 4 banks that tallied 192,878 instances price collectively $213.8 million in 2021 and the primary half of 2022 the place a buyer claimed they’d been fraudulently tricked into making a cost. In solely roughly 3,500 instances did these banks reimburse the shopper, the report discovered.

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Further, within the instances the place it is clear funds had been taken out of shoppers’ accounts without authorization, solely 47% of these {dollars} had been ever reimbursed.

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Since being launched in June 2017, Zelle has develop into a well-liked method for financial institution clients to ship money to family and friends. Almost $500 billion in funds had been despatched by way of Zelle in 2021, in accordance with Early Warning Services, the corporate that operates Zelle.

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Zelle is the banking trade’s reply to the rising reputation of peer-to-peer cost providers like PayPal, Venmo and the Cash App. The service permits a financial institution buyer to instantaneously ship money to an individual by way of their e-mail or telephone quantity, and it’ll go from one checking account to a different. More than 1,700 banks and credit score unions provide the service. But the service has additionally grown extra fashionable with scammers and criminals. Once money is distributed by way of Zelle, it requires a financial institution’s intervention to aim to get that money again.

The instances of rising fraud and scams at Zelle have been highlighted in earlier news stories, together with two by The New York Times. But these tales cited principally anecdotal proof. Early Warning Services has beforehand mentioned that 99.9% of all transactions occur without complaints of fraud or scams. A bunch of Democratic senators requested for utilization information on Zelle after the report in The New York Times.

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Banks are required underneath the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to repay clients when funds are illegally taken out of their account without authorization. Banks have argued that in instances of fraud — which means a buyer’s account turns into compromised in some way they usually ship an unauthorized cost — they do reimburse clients. Banks are extra reluctant to reimburse clients who declare to have been scammed, arguing that clients would make such claims extra usually and it could be arduous to inform whether or not the shopper is telling the reality.

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has additionally been wanting into Zelle and different cost platforms, and is anticipated to situation rules that might require banks to reimburse clients for a wider array of scams and fraud.

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The banking trade, conscious of Washington’s elevated scrutiny of Zelle, has been on a marketing campaign to point out Zelle is a secure solution to ship money. The trade sometimes likes to level out that fraud and rip-off claims happen extra usually on the non-bank cost platforms like Venmo or the Cash App.

The information for particular person banks reveals the rise in fraud and scams. PNC Bank had 8,848 instances on Zelle in 2020, and is on tempo to have roughly 12,300 instances this 12 months. US Bank had 14,886 instances in 2020 and had 27,702 instances in 2021. Truist had 9,455 instances of fraud and scams on Zelle in 2020, which ballooned to 22,045 final 12 months.

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In response to Warren’s report, Zelle’s proprietor mentioned the elevated instances mirrored the actual fact the service has develop into extra fashionable.

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“Zelle utilization has grown considerably since its launch, from 247 million transactions in 2017 to 1.8 billion in 2021, whereas the proportion of fraud and scams has steadily decreased,” Early Warning Services mentioned in an announcement.

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Warren made fireworks at a congressional listening to final month involving many of the CEOs of the massive Wall Street banks that use and partly personal Zelle, the place she pushed every of the CEOs to launch fraud and rip-off incident information at their banks. The seven are: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC Financial, Truist, Bank of America, Capital One and U.S. Bank.

The listening to featured an change the place Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, apologized to Warren for not getting her the info she requested and promised she would have it on the finish of that day.

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Warren’s workplace says in the end JPMorgan’s information on Zelle didn’t present the data they had been in search of, so information from JPMorgan isn’t included within the report. The different banks that didn’t present information to Warren’s workplace had been Wells Fargo and Capital One. JPMorgan didn’t return a request for remark.

This story has been up to date to appropriate the identify of the corporate working Zelle. It is Early Warning Services, not Early Warning Systems.

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Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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