Russia says it hit 17 Ukrainian facilities, killed more than 200 troops

Russian missile strike knocks out Odesa runway * Ukraine exchanges prisoners with Russia * Ukraine military regains four settlements in Kharkiv region

 Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on April 29, 2022. (photo credit: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)
Rescuers work at a site of a residential building damaged by a missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released on April 29, 2022.
(photo credit: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

A Russian missile strike on Saturday knocked out the newly-constructed runway at the main airport in the Ukrainian city of Odesa, a strategic Black Sea port, military and civilian officials said.

"The Odesa airport runway was destroyed. We will, of course, rebuild it. But Odesa will never forget Russia's behavior towards it," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night address.

Odesa regional governor Maksym Marchenko said Russia had used a Bastion missile, launched from Crimea.

Russia's military has not yet confirmed the strike.

Russia's armed forces said they had hit 17 Ukrainian military facilities with high-precision missiles on Saturday and also destroyed a command post and a warehouse used to store rockets and artillery.

In an online post, the defense ministry also said air force strikes during the day killed more than 200 Ukrainian troops and destroyed 23 armored vehicles.

Ukraine exchanges prisoners with Russia, 14 coming home

Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange with Russia on Saturday, with seven soldiers and seven civilians coming home, deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a online posting.

One of the soldiers was a woman who is five months' pregnant, she added. She did not say how many Russians had been transferred.

The two nations have swapped prisoners several times during the conflict that began with Russia's invasion on February 24, and on Thursday Ukraine said Russia had handed over 33 soldiers.

Kyiv police find three bound men they say were executed by Russian occupiers

Ukrainian police said on Saturday they had found the bodies of three civilian men in the Bucha district north of Kyiv, bound and in some cases gagged, with several gunshot wounds that police said indicated they had been tortured.

Kyiv says more than 1,000 bodies have been discovered in or around Bucha, where it alleges systematic abuse by Russian forces who occupied the area for several weeks in an abortive attempt to seize the capital.

Moscow rejects the allegation.

Iryna Abramova points to the spot where her husband was killed last month, and where his blood still stains the sidewalk in front of their home in Bucha, Ukraine on April 5, 2022. (credit: MOHAMMAD AL-KASSIM/THE MEDIA LINE)Iryna Abramova points to the spot where her husband was killed last month, and where his blood still stains the sidewalk in front of their home in Bucha, Ukraine on April 5, 2022. (credit: MOHAMMAD AL-KASSIM/THE MEDIA LINE)

In a video posted on YouTube, Kyiv regional police chief Andriy Nebytov said bullet wounds in the men's extremities showed they had been tortured, adding: "Finally, each of the men was shot in the ear."

The video also contained images purporting to show the grave and the bloodied bodies, with faces blurred out.

Russia's defense ministry did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment on Nebytov's account.

Reuters could not independently verify the information he gave.

Nebytov said the men were found in shallow graves in woods near the village of Myrotske, close to what had been Russian military positions, blindfolded and with their hands tied, and that some were gagged. The men's clothes showed they were civilians, he said, adding their identities were not known as their faces had been disfigured by torture.

Nebytov said forensic laboratories had now examined a total of 1,202 bodies of civilians believed to have been killed by Russian occupiers in the Kyiv region.

Reuters has not been able to verify the number of people found dead in Bucha or the circumstances of their deaths.

Moscow has rejected allegations by Ukraine and Western nations of war crimes, and has denied targeting civilians in what the Kremlin calls a "special military operation" to demilitarize its neighbor.

It has called allegations that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha a "monstrous forgery" aimed at denigrating the Russian army.

Strikes continue

 Russian carried out missile strikes across southern and eastern Ukraine on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, and some women and children were evacuated from a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol after being holed up there for over a week.

Moscow has turned its focus toward Ukraine's south and east after failing to capture the capital Kyiv in a nine-week assault that has flattened cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 5 million to flee abroad.

Its forces have captured the town of Kherson in the south, giving them a foothold just 100 km (62 miles) north of Russian-annexed Crimea, and have mostly occupied Mariupol, a strategic eastern port city on the Azov Sea.

In a Facebook post, the general staff of the armed forces also said the Ukrainian military had regained control over four settlements in the Kharkiv region.

The governor of Russia's western Kursk region said several shells were fired on Saturday at a checkpoint near its border from the direction of Ukraine.

Speaking in a video posted on his Telegram channel, governor Roman Starovoit said that there were no casualties or damage.

Russia's defense ministry said shelling by Ukraine's forces of villages in the Kherson region has killed and injured civilians, the Russian state media reported early on Sunday.

The ministry said Ukrainian forces shelled a school, a kindergarten and a cemetery in the villages of Kyselivka and Shyroka Balka. It gave no information on how many people were killed or injured, or when the shelling took place.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine to the report. Reuters could not independently verify the report.