Russia moves to encircle and capture critical cities in Ukraine Photograph:( AFP )
In Kyiv, blasts were reported overnight and Russian forces appeared to be moving to encircle the capital. A military convoy with hundreds of vehicles remained north of the city, a possible prelude to an assault
As the war in Ukraine pushed into its seventh day, fierce Ukrainian resistance continued to deny the Kremlin the easy victory it had anticipated, even as Russian forces advanced in the south while edging closer to a capital buffeted by fear. They were also intensifying the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, potentially altering the war’s dynamics by increasing the human toll.
The Russian military was bearing down on several Ukrainian cities, including Kherson, a port near the Black Sea, whose capture would mark the first major city to come under full control of President Vladimir Putin’s forces since the invasion began Feb. 24. Russia claims it is fully in control of the city, but Ukrainian officials said the municipal government was still in place. Neither claim could be independently verified. Kherson’s mayor said the city was “waiting for a miracle” to collect bodies and restore basic services.
In Kyiv, blasts were reported overnight and Russian forces appeared to be moving to encircle the capital. A military convoy with hundreds of vehicles remained north of the city, a possible prelude to an assault.
Here are the latest developments:
— Attacks by Russian troops were reported on hospitals, schools and critical infrastructure in key cities in Ukraine’s south and east. The forces continued to lay siege to central Kharkiv, where a government building was hit by an apparent rocket strike Wednesday, and where supplies of food and water were running low in the city of 1.5 million.
— Overnight, Russian troops surrounded Mariupol, a port city in the southeast. More than 120 civilians were being treated for injuries in hospitals, the mayor said. Residents baked 26 tons of bread to help people survive the coming onslaught, according to the mayor.
— President Joe Biden predicted that the invasion of Ukraine would “leave Russia weaker and the world stronger” during a fiery State of the Union address Tuesday night. He said the United States planned to bar Russian planes from U.S. airspace and that the Justice Department would try to seize the assets of oligarchs and government officials allied with Putin, part of a global push to isolate Russia.
— A second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine was scheduled to take place Wednesday after a meeting Monday failed to make progress in ending the fighting.