Ukraine war: The latest
- Ukraine’s president addresses the nation again in the early hours of Thursday, giving an upbeat assessment of progress
- ‘These are not warriors of a superpower,’ he says. ‘These are confused children who have been used’
- Kyiv is coming under renewed attack in the early hours of Thursday morning
- Russian paratroopers land on Wednesday in Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv amid heavy fighting
- ‘There are practically no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit’: Interior Ministry official
- Joe Biden brands Vladimir Putin a ‘dictator’ in his annual State of the Union address as he bans Russian aircraft from US airspace
- Russia steps up its bombing campaign and missile strikes, hitting Kyiv’s main television tower, two residential buildings in a town west of the city and the city of Bila Tserkva to the south of the capital
- Russian attacks leave Mariupol, another Black Sea port further to the west, without electricity
- More than 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the UN’s refugee agency says
- The UN’s International Court of Justice says it will hold public hearings on March 7 and 8 over Ukraine’s allegations of ‘genocide’ by Russia
- Russia blocks an independent television channel and a liberal radio station, tightening a virtual media blackout
- A string of Western companies announce they are freezing or scaling back business with Russia
- Russians race to withdraw cash after the introduction of capital controls and as the ruble hits record lows
- Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 goes insolvent after Germany halts the pipeline following Moscow’s invasion
- Oil prices soar past $110 a barrel, despite agreements to release 60 million barrels from stockpiles
- The World Bank prepares a $3-billion aid package for Ukraine, including $350 million in immediate funds
The first major city in Ukraine has fallen to the Russians, the mayor confirmed on Wednesday, urging his residents on Facebook to obey ‘armed people who came to the city’s administration’.
Kherson, home to 290,000 people, is 300 miles south of Kyiv. Kyiv was also coming under attack in the early hours of Thursday, with a bright explosion booming across the city around 2am.
The port city of Odessa, 125 miles west of Kherson, was also bracing for an attack after Vladimir Putin’s warships were seen leaving Crimea on Wednesday night. U.S. officials told Fox News they expected Odessa could be attacked as soon as Thursday.
Kherson, like Odessa, is strategically important – sitting on an inlet of the Black Sea, 260 miles west of the separatist enclave of Donetsk.
Ihor Kolykhaiev, mayor of Kherson, earlier on Wednesday insisted the city remained under Ukrainian control, but it has now fallen.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, issued a video address to the nation in the early hours of Thursday, giving an upbeat assessment of the war and calling on Ukrainians to keep up the resistance.
‘We are a people who in a week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,’ he said, in the clip posted on social media.
‘They will have no peace here. They will have no food. They will have here not one quiet moment.’
Zelensky did not comment on whether the Russians have seized several cities, including Kherson.
‘If they went somewhere, then only temporarily. We’ll drive them out,’ he said.
He said the fighting is taking a toll on the morale of Russian soldiers, who ‘go into grocery stores and try to find something to eat.’
Video clips shared on social media showed the Russian forces looting towns as they passed.
Some claimed that the Russians who were captured were found with rations on them which had expired in 2015.
Western officials have reportedly said they believe some of the young Russian troops do not want to fight and are sabotaging their vehicles, puncturing the gas tanks.
‘These are not warriors of a superpower,’ said Zelensky. ‘These are confused children who have been used.’
He said the Russian death toll has reached about 9,000.
‘Ukraine doesn’t want to be covered in bodies of soldiers,’ he said. ‘Go home.’
In the early hours of Thursday a huge explosion rocked Kyiv – preceded by the blaring of air raid sirens at around 2am local time in multiple districts across the city.
Kyiv’s buildings were then lit up by a huge blast from a bomb.
The Kyiv Independent reported that air raid alerts were issued in multiple regions included Kyiv Oblast, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Frankivsk, Chernihiv and Odessa.
Footage from the capital, filmed from windows overlooking the city, showed at least one massive explosion that lit up the night sky, and appeared to cause a shock-wave.
In another video, captured by CBS News reporters moments after signing off following a report, two bursts of light could be seen over Kyiv.
While the explosions were not filmed directly, the intensity of them was enough to shock the reporter and his film crew, who were some distance away from the blasts.
Hours earlier, a Russian missile struck near Kyiv’s southern main rail station where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement.
The station building suffered minor damage and the number of any casualties was not yet known, it said, adding trains were still operating despite the blast.
Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the blast was caused by wreckage from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct rocket strike.
Trains continued to run. Herashchenko added the strike may have cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures.
Unverified reports said two missiles were launched towards the headquarters of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, with one being shot down. The HQ and the railway station sit across a road from one another in Kyiv.
Kherson was, throughout Wednesday, the focus of fierce fighting.
The city of Kherson is seen on Wednesday, with Russian forces seemingly in control. Kherson is the first major city to fall to the Russians
Russian tanks and a military truck are seen rolling through the streets of Kherson on Wednesday
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, published another video to his social media in the early hours of Thursday, providing an upbeat assessment of his country’s resilience and saying the Russian advance was not going according to their plan
Kherson, 300 miles south of Kyiv, is considered an important strategic asset, being on an inlet in the Black Sea
Earlier on Wednesday, a U.S. official told AP: ‘Our view is that Kherson is very much a contested city.’
Kolykhaiev later in the evening said Russian soldiers were in the city and came to the city administration building.
He said he asked them not to shoot civilians and to allow crews to gather up the bodies from the streets.
‘I simply asked them not to shoot at people,’ he said in a statement.
‘We don’t have any Ukrainian forces in the city, only civilians and people here who want to LIVE.’
Kolykhaiev said he never imagined he would end up dealing with a war.
‘Everything that is happening now in our city is politics that I hate,’ he wrote.
‘I came to office to renew infrastructure, invest in Kherson, build houses, roads, parks and a new life for my hometown.
‘Now, I’m looking for special packages for those killed.’
Forty miles from Kherson, in Mykolaiv, Ukrainian forces captured several Russian troops on Wednesday, where fierce fighting broke out in recent days.
The region’s governor and a member of Ukraine’s Parliament shared pictures with the captured soldiers.
Roman Kostenko, a lawmaker and secretary of the Parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, told CNN that a reconnaissance unit of the Russian GRU’s 10th brigade had been intercepted on the outskirts of Mykolaiv.
‘We encircled them and they gave themselves up,’ he said.
Kherson mayor’s message on Wednesday evening
These weren’t negotiations or anything that was already rumored about.
No one agreed anything with me.
However, indeed there were armed visitors in the city council today.
My team and I are peaceful people, we had no weapons or aggression on our side. We have shown that we are working to secure the city and are trying to eliminate the consequences of the invasion.
We are experiencing enormous difficulties with collecting and burying the dead, delivering food and medicine, garbage removal, clearing accidents, etc.
Everything that is happening now in our city is politics that I hate.
I came to renew infrastructure, invest in Kherson, build houses, roads, parks and a new life for my hometown. As a result, I’m looking for special packages for the killed, putting the whole world on my shoulders, asking for a ‘green corridor’ and thinking HOW should I now rebuild the city after tanks and APCs.
I made no promises to them. I just have nothing to promise. I am only interested in the normal life of our city!
I just asked them not to shoot people. We don’t have the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the city, only civilians and people who want to LIVE here!
1. You can only go to the city during the day.
2. The curfew from 20.00 to 06.00 is strictly observed.
3. Only cars with food, medicines and other things can enter the city.
4. We will release public transport again so that employees of the bakery, shops, pharmacies, etc. could get to work.
5. Pedestrians walk one by one, maximum two. The military will not be provoked. Stop at the first demand. They do not seek conflict.
6. Cars that are allowed to be in the city must drive at minimum speeds, and should be ready to show the contents of their vehicle at any moment.
So far this is how it is. The Ukrainian flag above us.
And to keep it the same, these requirements must be met.
I have nothing else to say yet.
‘They are with the SBU,’ he said, referring to the Ukrainian security services.
He said one of the five Russian soldiers had died, one was taken straight to hospital and three were alive.
The capture of Kherson came as Western officials told CNN that they believe the Russian strategy is moving toward a ‘slow annihilation’ of the Ukrainian military.
They warned that the grinding pace of the conflict could see Russia resorting to the bombardment of cities and civilian targets.
Ukrainian forces have so far been able to stave off Russia’s initial push, maintaining control of Kyiv and other major cities.
Russia has lost roughly 3-5 percent of its tanks, aircraft, artillery and other military assets inside Ukraine, according to two US officials familiar with the latest intelligence.
Ukraine has lost roughly 10 percent of its capabilities, and they remain massively outgunned and outmanned.
And Russia is now bringing in heavier, more destructive weaponry and increasingly striking civilian infrastructure, after an initial focus on military targets, the officials said.
‘The cruel military math of this will eventually come to bear, absent some intervention, absent some fundamental change in the dynamic,’ one official said.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a call on Wednesday that Ukraine needs additional deliveries of weapons ‘now,’ Kuleba tweeted.
A senior intelligence official said: ‘They need bullets. They need bandages. They’re going to need fuel. They’re going to need ammunition, in addition to the humanitarian support to help with medical assistance, sustaining hospitals, both for combat wounded and for civilians that are being hurt.
‘And they’re going to need a lot again in ammunition and the weapons resupply, because the Russian force is both numerically and qualitatively superior.’
Moscow’s isolation deepened, meanwhile, when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine.
And the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes.
A second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting was expected on Thursday, but there appeared to be little common ground between the two sides.
Russia reported its military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its troops have been killed and almost 1,600 wounded.
Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses but said more than 2,000 civilians have died, a claim that could not be independently verified.
With fighting going on on multiple fronts across the country, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Mariupol, a large city on the Azov Sea, was encircled by Russian forces.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there had been relentless.
‘We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop,’ he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Meanwhile, the senior U.S. defense official said the immense column of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles appeared to be stalled roughly 16 miles from Kyiv and had made no real progress in the last couple of days.
The convoy, which earlier in the week had seemed poised to launch an assault on the capital, has been plagued with fuel and food shortages and has faced fierce Ukrainian resistance, the official said.
On the far edges of Kyiv, volunteer fighters well into their 60s manned a checkpoint to try to block the Russian advance.
‘In my old age I had to take up arms,’ said Andrey Goncharuk, 68.
He said the fighters needed more weapons, but ‘we’ll kill the enemy and take their weapons.’
Russian warplanes bombed the village of Gorenka, a half-hour’s drive from Ukraine’s capital, Wednesday, leaving the bodies of villagers strewn among ruined homes, residents said.
In the northern city of Chernihiv, two cruise missiles hit a hospital, according to the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency
Ihor Kolykhaiev, mayor of Kherson, said on Wednesday that armed forces had taken control of his city
The mayor of Kherson, Ihor Kolykhaiev, made a post on Facebook at around 7pm local time on Wednesday evening. The translation is done by Facebook itself
A woman cries in the small basement of a house crowded with people seeking shelter from Russian airstrikes, outside the capital Kyiv, on Wednesday
The remains of a destroyed Russian military convoy are seen on a street in Bucha, to the south of Kyiv, on Wednesday morning
An armed man stands by the remains of a Russian military vehicle in Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine
Russia also pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with about 1.5 million people, in another round of aerial attacks that shattered buildings and lit up the skyline with flames.
At least 21 people were killed and 112 injured over the past day, said Oleg Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration.
Several Russian planes were shot down over Kharkiv, according to Oleksiy Arestovich, a top adviser to Zelensky.
‘Kharkiv today is the Stalingrad of the 21st century,’ Arestovich said, invoking what is considered one of the most heroic episodes in Russian history, the five-month defense of the city from the Nazis during World War II.
From his basement bunker, Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov told the BBC: ‘The city is united and we shall stand fast.’
Russian attacks, many with missiles, blew the roof off Kharkiv’s five-story regional police building and set the top floor on fire, and also hit the intelligence headquarters and a university building, according to officials and videos and photos released by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service.
Officials said residential buildings were also hit.
Seven days into Russia’s invasion, the United Nations said more than 934,000 people have fled Ukraine in a mounting refugee crisis on the European continent, while the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency warned that the fighting poses a danger to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.
Rafael Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency noted that the war is ‘the first time a military conflict is happening amid the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program,’ and he said he is ‘gravely concerned.’
‘When there is a conflict ongoing, there is of course a risk of attack or the possibility of an accidental hit,’ he said.
Russia already has seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl power plant, the scene in 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
A private U.S. satellite company, Maxar Technology, on Wednesday released a series of 11 images taken on Monday showing damaged infrastructure in towns north of Kyiv.
A convoy of Russian vehicles is seen parked along a residential street in an unknown area of Ukraine, in footage released by Russia’s armed forces on Wednesday
Police officers remove the body of a passerby killed in Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower
Police officers stand guard at the site of Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower
In New York, the U.N. General Assembly voted to demand that Russia stop its offensive and immediately withdraw all troops, with world powers and tiny island states alike condemning Moscow. The vote was 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions.
Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but can reflect and influence world opinion.
The vote came after the 193-member assembly convened its first emergency session since 1997.
The only countries to vote with Russia were Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. Cuba spoke in Moscow’s defense but ultimately abstained.
Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said Russian forces ‘have come to the Ukrainian soil, not only to kill some of us … they have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist.’
He added: ‘The crimes are so barbaric that it is difficult to comprehend.’
A large explosion shook central Kyiv on Wednesday night in what the president’s office said was a missile strike near the capital city’s southern railway station.
There was no immediate word on any deaths or injuries.
Thousands of Ukrainians have been fleeing the city through the sprawling railway complex.
A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, released his side’s military casualty figures, disputing as ‘disinformation’ reports of much higher losses.
Ukraine’s leader claimed almost 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed.
Konashenkov also said more than 2,870 Ukrainian troops have been killed and about 3,700 wounded, while over 570 have been captured.
Russia also ramped up its rhetoric.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded the world about the country’s vast nuclear arsenal when he said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that ‘a third world war could only be nuclear.’
Commanders of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces warned they would no longer take Russian artillerymen as prisoner of war in response to their ‘brutal shelling’ of cities – a move which would be a war crime.
‘Each and every gun crew… will be slaughtered like pigs,’ a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday evening said.
Footage from Kyiv overnight into Thursday morning showed a huge explosion light up the night sky. Reports said at least two huge blasts were heard in the city air raid sirens warned residents to urgently seek shelter
A Russian air strike hit near Kyiv’s southern rail station on Wednesday where thousands of women and children are being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya said in a statement. Pictured: Footage purportedly showing a blast in Kyiv on Wednesday night near a southern train station and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
Ukraine’s interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said the strike may have e cut off central heating supply to parts of the Ukrainian capital amid freezing winter temperatures
A woman cries outside houses damaged by a Russian airstrike, according to locals, in Gorenka, outside the capital Kyiv
A woman says goodbye as a train with evacuees is about to leave Kyiv’s railway station on Wednesday
People stay inside Dorohozhychi subway station, which is used as a bomb shelter, in Kyiv
Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv on Wednesday amid Russian attacks
Civilians are seen at the train station attempting to head west from Kyiv on Wednesday, before the building was hit
A view shows damaged buildings following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region on Wednesday
Paramedics walk at the residential area following recent shelling, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in the settlement of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region on Wednesday
On Wednesday morning, the bodies of the five victims of a rocket strike on Kyiv’s television tower were piled into a van and removed from the site by police – as the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko warned that Russian forces were ‘getting closer’.
Klitschko vowed that ‘we will fight’ to defend the city, amid fears it could soon be battered by artillery fire from a 40-mile long convoy parked nearby.
Along with his brother and fellow former boxer Wladimir, the mayor called for more support from the west in an interview on Wednesday.
Ukrainian police said Wednesday they had arrested a man who brought explosives hidden in a child’s toy to one of the Kyiv subway stations where thousands of people have been sheltering.
The police also said four other suspected saboteurs were arrested, including two who were carrying weapons.
Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in Tuesday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower
Ukrainian police forces remove the bodies of people killed during a Russian rocket attack on Kyiv’s main TV tower on Tuesday, ahead of an expected assault on the capital
Kyiv is preparing to come under fresh bombardment today after Moscow warned civilians to flee or else face being killed (pictured, bodies of people killed in last night’s strike are covered by police)
Five people were killed on Tuesday in a Russian missile strike which wiped out several TV stations in Kyiv, thought to be preparation for a larger follow-up attack
Smoke and flames rise up the side of Kyiv’s 1,300ft TV tower after Russia bombed it on Tuesday. The tower remained standing but buildings around it were damaged, with some broadcasts knocked off air
Smoke rises around Kyiv’s main television tower after several explosions near the base of it on Tuesday afternoon
After failing to swiftly take major cities and to subdue Ukraine’s military, U.S. officials have said for days that they believe Russia will instead seek to encircle cities, cutting off supply and escape routes, then attacking with a combined force of armour, ground troops and engineers.
A top Ukrainian diplomat received a standing ovation from diplomats after a heartfelt speech Wednesday to the U.N.’s top human rights body, calling on the Human Rights Council to help hold Russia’s government accountable by creating a panel of experts to scrutinize the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking by video from Kyiv, Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, described being awoken by the sound of an explosion on February 24 as the invasion began.
She said her government was ‘fully operational’ and lashed out at ‘false claims’ by Putin that Ukraine was committing ‘genocide.’
‘Do you know how Russia treats and deals with genocide in Ukraine? By airstrikes using cruise and operational tactical missiles, tanks and artillery, reconnaissance groups and sabotage groups,’ she said.
‘Ukrainian babies are born in the bomb shelters in bunkers.
‘As we speak here today, Russian armed forces keep attacking maternity wards, kindergartens, orphanages, hospitals.’
Dzhaparova noted an ‘urgent debate’ at the council about the situation in Ukraine, calling for countries in the 47-member-state body’s to set up a Commission of Inquiry – the council’s most powerful tool to scrutinize human rights violations and abuses.
US President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to highlight the resolve of a reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and adopt tough sanctions, which he said have left Putin ‘isolated in the world more than he has ever been.’
‘Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,’ Biden said.
‘They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.’
Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv
A view of smoke from inside a damaged gym following shelling in Kyiv which partially destroyed a gym
A destroyed apartment building in Irpin, a city on the outskirts of Kyiv, was struck by Russian missiles early on Wednesday
Soldiers are seen around piles of sand used for blocking a road in Ukrainian capital, Kyiv
A fighter of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, the military reserve of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stands guard at the underground crossing and subway entrance in the center of Kyiv
First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers Source link First Ukrainian city falls: Mayor of Kherson tells people to follow the orders of Russian soldiers