Street fighting broke out in Ukraine’s second-largest city and Russian troops squeezed strategic ports in the country’s south on Sunday, advances that appeared to mark a new phase of Russia’s invasion following a wave of attacks on airfields and fuel facilities elsewhere in the country.
Following its gains on the ground, Russia sent a delegation to Belarus for peace talks with Ukraine, according to the Kremlin. Ukraine’s president suggested other locations, saying his country was unwilling to meet in Belarus because it served as a staging ground for the invasion.
Until Sunday, Russia’s troops had remained on the outskirts of Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million about 20 kilometres south of the border with Russia, while other forces rolled past to press the offensive deeper into Ukraine and Ukrainian fighters put up determined resistance.
“We are fighting, fighting for our country, fighting for our freedom because we have the right to do that,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “The past night was tough — more shelling, more bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure. There is not a single facility in the country that the occupiers wouldn’t consider as admissible targets.” Videos posted on Ukrainian media and social networks showed Russian vehicles moving across Kharkiv and Russian troops roaming the city in small groups.
One video showed Ukrainian soldiers inspecting Russian light utility vehicles damaged by shelling and abandoned by Russian troops on a street. Huge explosions lit up the sky early on Sunday near the capital, Kyiv, where terrified residents hunkered down in homes, underground garages and subway stations in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault.
But Ukrainians also volunteered en masse to help defend Kyiv and other cities, taking guns distributed by authorities and preparing firebombs to fight Russian forces.Russia blamed for ‘state terrorism’
Zelenskyy denounced Russia’s offensive as “state terrorism.” He said the attacks on Ukrainian cities should be investigated by an international war crimes tribunal and cost Russia its place as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
“Russia has taken the path of evil, and the world should come to depriving it of its UN Security Council seat,” he said. Officials maintained a 39-hour curfew to keep people off the capital’s streets until Monday morning, complicating the task of assessing the intensity of the fighting.
Zelenskyy’s office said explosions were reported at Kyiv International Airport. Flames billowed from an oil depot near an airbase in Vasylkiv, a city 37km south of Kyiv where there has been intense fighting, according to the mayor.
Russian forces blew up a gas pipeline to the east in Kharkiv, prompting the government to warn people to cover their windows with damp cloth or gauze as protection from smoke, the president’s office said. Meanwhile, Moscow also claimed today that its troops had “entirely” besieged the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast.
“Over the past 24 hours, the cities of Kherson and Berdyansk have been completely blocked by the Russian armed forces,” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
TN Media News https://tnmn.tv/
Tweets by TNMediaNews