Kyiv: “Russian artillery and multiple launch rocket systems were pounding residential buildings and infrastructure.”
As Russian invasion of Ukraine enters the tenth day, Moscow has intensified its military offensive and broken a temporary cease-fire put in place to evacuate civilians in two strategic cities, the media reports say.
“[A] ceasefire was declared to evacuate civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha at the request of the Ukrainian side and solely for humanitarian purposes,” Russian state news agency TASS reported Saturday morning. That cease-fire has now been broken just hours after the Russian announcement, trapping thousands of residents in the encircled cities.
The Russian campaign in the south, focused on the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha, is aimed at cutting Ukraine off from the sea. According to news reports on Saturday, Russian ground forces were also moving in to take the strategic port city of Odessa.
The Associated Press reported the collapse of the cease-fire:
What looked like a breakthrough cease-fire to evacuate residents from two cities in Ukraine quickly fell apart Saturday as Ukrainian officials said continued shelling had halted the work to remove civilians hours after Russia announced the deal.
The Russian defense ministry earlier said it had agreed on evacuation routes with Ukrainian forces for Mariupol, a strategic port in the southeast, and the eastern city of Volnovakha. The vaguely worded statement did not make clear how long the routes would remain open.
“The Russian side is not holding to the cease-fire and has continued firing on Mariupol itself and on its surrounding area,” said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office. “Talks with the Russian Federation are ongoing regarding setting up a cease-fire and ensuring a safe humanitarian corridor.”
Russian Advance into Kyiv
Meanwhile, the Russian forces are advancing towards Kyiv in a pincer movement, approaching the Ukrainian capital from the north west and east directions.
The Ukrainian defenders appear to have stalled the advancing Russian troops in the north west. The Russian column from the east, on the other hands, is “advancing rapidly on the capital,” the BBC reported Saturday.
The British broadcaster reported the critical situation around Kyiv:
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says the front of a long convoy of Russian military vehicles remains in this area and has made little progress in recent days. (…).
To the east, however, Russian troops are now advancing rapidly on the capital, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Defence analysts say the aim of the Russian forces is to envelop and eventually encircle the city.
A Russian helicopter is being downed in Ukraine.
Stunning footage. pic.twitter.com/MKN1VxNNzg
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 5, 2022
Civilian casualties continue to mount across Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin promised an “uncompromising fight” against the Ukrainian resistance.
The French news agency AFP reported the misery unleashed by the Russian onslaught:
According to Ukraine, thousands of civilians have died since President Vladimir Putin’s military invaded on February 24 (…).
On Friday, missile and bomb attacks on cities continued, the Ukrainian military said on Facebook, adding that the main focus of Russian troops was to encircle Kyiv.
It added that Russian artillery and multiple launch rocket systems were pounding residential buildings and infrastructure. (…)
In the northern city of Chernihiv, 47 people died Thursday when Russian forces bombed residential areas, including schools and a high-rise apartment block, according to a new toll given by local officials.
Millions of Ukrainians Women and Children Flee for Safety
As invading Russian forces shell Ukrainian towns and cities across Ukraine, millions have been displaced. So far, over are million Ukrainians have found refuge in neighboring European countries, with Poland taking the bulk of refugees.
German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the ongoing displacement:
As of Thursday, over 1 million people have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, as the Russian war enters its second week.
The UNHCR expects over 4 million people will need protection and assistance due to displacement from Ukraine. The EU’s crisis management commissioner has said the figure could reach 7 million. (…)
The UNHCR and Polish authorities said over half a million people crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. Poland had already been home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians before that.
Unlike the migrant crisis of 2015, when Europe was flooded with young men men from the Middle East and North Africa, Ukrainian refugee wave is predominantly made up of women, children and elderly.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian men and women have enlisted to defend their cities and towns, following a call by President Zelensky urging conscripts and reservists to join the ranks of country’s armed forces.
Russia Continues to Sell Gas to Germany, Europe
Despite well-publicized sanctions announced by the European countries, including freezing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, the Putin regime continues to supply gas to the continent.
Ignoring the objections made by the Polish government, the German operators have refused to shut down the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. German media reports suggest that country’s energy companies are trying to wiggle past sanctions imposed by their own government.
Reuters reported the unrestricted Russian gas supply to Europe via Nord Stream 1:
The operator of the operational Nord Stream 1 undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany said on Friday that transportation of natural gas to Europe was continuing normally.
Nord Stream AG is not involved in the Nord Stream 2 project and not engaged in the activities of Nord Stream 2 AG. Nord Stream AG is, therefore, not targeted by the sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG neither by any other sanctions,” it said in a statement.
It is worth noting that Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom is the majority shareholder of Nord Stream AG consortium, which owns the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.
Ukraine War Threatens Global Food Supply
The Russian invasion, which involves blockading key Ukrainian ports, is threatening the global food supply. Ukraine, also known as the bread basket of Europe, is one of the world’s biggest supplier of grains.
The country is among the top producers of corn and wheat, a staple to billions across the world. “At stake is the 13% of global corn exports and the 12% of wheat that flow from Ukraine,” The Wall Street Journal noted last week, “In threatening those flows Moscow risks disrupting supplies to China while setting off a scramble among customers in fragile Middle Eastern economies at a time when food inflation is already high,” the business daily warned.
Asian countries are already feeling the impact. “Asian economies … are being hit with food shortages as shipments are cancelled and delivery routes upended” by the invasion, The South China Morning Post reported Friday. “Heavy fighting closes off parts of the Black Sea, affecting shipments of wheat, oats and other cereals to Asia upsetting supply chains,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper daily added.DONATE
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