War in Ukraine: Desperate as food in Mariupol, water is scarce

Although Russian artillery has hit the surrounding area, Kyiv has been relatively quiet in recent days.

LVIV, Ukraine – Efforts are continuing to save civilians from an increasingly difficult situation in besieged and bombed Ukrainian cities on Wednesday. The fire, which has been going on for days, has alienated residents of the southern city of Mariupol from the outside world, forcing them to look for food and water.

Meanwhile, the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid on Wednesday and forcibly switched to generators, an alarming new development in the plant’s ability to safely store nuclear fuel in the refrigerator.

Authorities have declared another ceasefire to allow civilians to flee Mariupol and Sumi in the northeast, Enerhodar in the south, Volnovakha in the southeast, Izyum in the east and a number of cities in the region around the capital Kyiv.

Previous attempts to create safe evacuation corridors have largely failed due to attacks by Russian forces, and there are few details about the new attempt on Wednesday. It was not clear if anyone was able to leave Mariupol, but despite repeated airstrikes and explosions in the capital, some people began to flock to the outskirts of Kiev.

Mariupol, where about half of the 430,000 population hopes to flee, has been under siege by Russian forces for days. Corpses lie on the streets, people go to the shops in search of food and melt snow for water. Thousands of people took refuge in the basements of Russian shells that struck this strategic port in the Sea of ​​Azov.

“Why shouldn’t I cry?” resident Goma Janna demanded while crying in the light of an underground oil lamp surrounded by women and children. “I want my home, I want my job. I am very sad for the people, the city and the children. “

Thousands of people, including civilians and soldiers, are believed to have been killed in the two weeks of fighting following the occupation of President Vladimir Putin’s forces. The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million people have fled the country, the largest refugee migration to Europe since the end of World War II.

The crisis will only get worse as Russian forces increase their bombardment of cities across the country in response to stronger-than-expected resistance from Ukrainian forces. On Tuesday, CIA Director William Burns said Russia’s losses were “far greater” than Putin and his generals had expected.

“The push from Russian forces could mean ‘the ugliness of the next few weeks,'” Burns told a congressional committee, warning that Putin would “destroy the Ukrainian army without taking into account civilian casualties.”

The British Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday that fighting was continuing in northwestern Kiev. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernigov, Sumy and Mariupol are under heavy fire and are under siege by Russian forces.

Concerns over the safety of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the world’s worst nuclear disaster, have been compounded by the dire humanitarian situation. The state communications agency said the outage could jeopardize systems for cooling nuclear material.

Ukraine’s network operator Ukrenerho said that according to the national nuclear regulator, all Chernobyl facilities were without electricity and diesel generators had 48 hours of fuel. Without energy, it is impossible to control “nuclear and radiation safety parameters,” he said.

The site has been under Russian military control since last week.

The Ukrainian General Staff says Russian forces are placing military equipment on farms and between residential buildings in the northern city of Chernigov. In the south, plainclothes Russians are reportedly advancing on the Black Sea shipyard of Nikolaev, home to half a million people.

The Ukrainian army is building a defense system in cities in the north, south and east, and forces around Kyiv are “keeping the line” against Russian aggression.

This resistance is stronger than many expected, and Western nations are now rushing to strengthen their forces. The Ukrainian president has repeatedly demanded fighter jets against a significant Russian air force, but Western countries have been divided over how to do so, fearing that the war could escalate beyond Ukraine.

Poland on Tuesday evening offered the United States to provide 28 MiG-29 fighter jets for Ukraine’s use. U.S. officials said the proposal “could not be continued,” but that they would continue to consult with Poland and other NATO allies.

In addition to providing financial support to Ukraine, Western countries have tried to put pressure on Russia through a series of punitive sanctions. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden stepped up the antenna and said the United States would ban all Russian oil imports, even if it meant increased spending for Americans.

Energy exports have maintained a steady flow of money to Russia, despite severe restrictions that have cut off much of the world’s economy. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and General Electric have all announced that they have suspended operations in the country and that isolation is on the rise.

The actions so far have done little to end the conflict.

On Wednesday morning, a series of airstrikes warned residents of the capital to go to bomb shelters for fear of incoming missiles. Associated Press reporters later heard explosions.

Although such warnings are irregular, they keep people out. Although Russian artillery has struck on the outskirts of the city, Kyiv has been relatively quiet in recent days.

On Tuesday, police and soldiers in those areas helped elderly residents get out of their homes. People gathered under slippery wooden planks under a destroyed bridge before crossing the river and tried to escape from Irpin, which has a population of 60,000 and came under fire from Russia.

The head of the Kyiv regional administration, Oleksiy Kuleba, said that the crisis was growing for the civilian population in the capital, and the situation was critical, especially in the suburbs.

“Russia is artificially creating a humanitarian crisis in the Kyiv region, frustrating the evacuation of people and continuing to fire and bomb small communities,” he said.

On the eve of the bombings, officials repeatedly tried to evacuate civilians, but many attempts were thwarted by Russian fire.

An evacuation appeared successful on Tuesday, with Ukrainian authorities saying 5,000 civilians, including 1,700 foreign students, were able to flee the northeastern city of Sumy, a quarter of a million people.

The head of the regional administration, Dmitry Zhyvytsky, said the corridor was to be opened within 12 hours on Wednesday by buses carrying people to the southwestern city of Poltava the day before they returned to take in more refugees.

Pregnant women, women with children, the elderly and the disabled were preferred.

In the south, Russian troops have advanced into the depths of Ukraine’s coastline in an effort to build a land bridge over Crimea, which Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014.

This led to the siege of Mariupol by Russian forces.

Attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver much-needed food, water and medicine on Tuesday failed, with Ukrainian officials saying Russian forces fired on the convoy before it reached the city.

Natalia Mudrenko, a senior member of Ukraine’s UN mission, told the Security Council that the people of Mariupol had been “actually taken hostage” by the siege. Shortly after his mother was killed by Russian fire, his voice trembled with emotion as he described how a 6-year-old boy died. “He was alone in the last moments of his life,” he said.

Thefts have become widespread in the city as besieged residents search for food, clothing, and even furniture. Some residents are forced to take water from the ravines. Authorities say they plan to start digging mass graves for the dead.

With power outages, many people use their car radios to receive information from stations broadcast by Russian forces or Russian-backed separatist-held areas.

Lyudmila Amelkina, who was walking in the alley where the rubble and walls were set on fire, said the rubble was devastating.

“We have no light, we have nothing to eat, we have no medicine. We don’t have anything, ”he said and looked up at the sky.

Associated Press correspondents from around the world contributed to the report.

War in Ukraine: Desperate as food in Mariupol, water is scarce

Source link War in Ukraine: Desperate as food in Mariupol, water is scarce

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