'Evidence of genocide': Zelenskiy on recaptured towns

STORY: Zelenskiy made the comments in his regular nightly address, released in the early hours of Thursday, after he made a surprise visit to Izium on Wednesday. The eastern city was Russia's main bastion and logistics hub in the Kharkiv region until four days ago, when a Ukrainian offensive forced a rushed Russian withdrawal.

"They left devastated villages, and in some of them there is not a single surviving house. Occupiers have left schools turned into garbage dumps, and ruined churches turned literally into toilets," Zelenskiy said.

Referring to cities where evidence of widespread abuse and torture by Russian troops previously appeared to have emerged, the president added, "What the world has seen in Bucha, what we have seen in the de-occupied territory of Chernihiv and Sumy regions, and what we are seeing now in the Kharkiv region, is the evidence of genocide against Ukrainians."

Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians, and Reuters could not immediately verify Zelenskiy's claims.