A thousand bodies have been recovered near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in recent days, with many of the killings possibly amounting to war crimes amid the Russian invasion, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. "The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv, is shocking," Bachelet told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council via video link. The council will decide on Thursday whether to launch an official probe into events that occurred in Kyiv and other regions in February and March while Russian troops were occupying the areas. Russia has denied targeting civilians during what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine aimed only at "de-militarizing" and "de-Nazifying" the country. Russian energy giant Gazprom says gas to Europe transiting through Ukraine went down by a third on Thursday. Gazprom told the Interfax news agency that supplies transiting Ukraine were at 50.6 million cubic meters in total, compared to 72 million cubic meters the day before. This comes after Kyiv said it would suspend flows of Russian gas through the eastern Sokhranivka hub on Wednesday on grounds the plant was no longer under Ukrainian control. Ukraine has succeeded in recapturing a number of towns and villages toward the Russian border north of its second city of Kharkiv after Moscow has reportedly withdrawn several units following heavy losses, the British Ministry of Defence has said. The current focus of Russian troops on the eastern Donbas regions means that remaining units deployed in the Kharkiv region are "vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counterattacking force," according to the intelligence update posted on Twitter. "The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast is a tacit recognition of Russia’s inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population," it says. It said the Russian troops would "likely deploy to the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, forming a blocking force to protect the western flank of Russia’s main force concentration and main supply routes for operations in the vicinity of Izium." Kharkiv, situated just 40 km (25 miles) south of the border to Russia, was an early focus of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and suffered relentless shelling for a month. Artillery attacks have, however, now reportedly become rarer as Russian troops seem to be pulling out.
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