Russia Ukraine war news latest updates Moscow renews strikes on Ukrainian capital, claims full control of urban area

Image source: AP

The tail of a missile in a courtyard of a residential area of ​​a village of Senkivka, near the Belarusian border, Chernihiv region, Ukraine.

Strong points

  • Russia renews its strikes on the Ukrainian capital and strikes other cities
  • Ukraine’s president says ‘increased attack could end negotiating room’
  • Moscow claimed full control of the Mariupol urban area

News from the Russian-Ukrainian War: The entire urban area of ​​the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine has been completely cleared of Ukrainian armed forces and foreign mercenaries, the Russian military has announced. The remnants of the resistance forces have been pinned down inside the Azovstal steelworks, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a press briefing on Saturday. He said 1,464 Ukrainian servicemen surrendered during the fighting in the city. As a key port city on the Sea of ​​Azov, Mariupol is witnessing some of the worst violence in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that its forces were still fighting the Russians in Mariupol after nearly seven weeks from the siege of the city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the elimination of Ukrainian troops in Mariupol will end any negotiations with Russia.

Russian forces stepped up scattered attacks on kyiv, western Ukraine and beyond on Saturday, an explosive reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the whole country remains under threat despite Moscow’s pivot to a new offensive in the east. Stung by the loss of its flagship in the Black Sea and outraged by the alleged Ukrainian aggression on Russian territory, the Russian military command had warned of new missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital. Officials in Moscow said they were targeting military sites, a claim repeated – and refuted by witnesses – throughout the 52-day war.

The balance sheet is much deeper. Every day brings new discoveries of civilian casualties from an invasion that shattered European security. As Russia prepared for the planned offensive, a mother wept over the body of her 15-year-old son after rockets hit a residential area in Kharkiv. A baby and at least eight other people died, officials said. In the Kyiv region, authorities reported finding the bodies of more than 900 civilians, most of them shot. Smoke rose again from the capital on Saturday morning as Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported a strike that killed one person and injured several. The mayor advised residents who had fled the city at the start of the war not to return.

“We do not rule out further strikes on the capital,” Klitschko said. “If you have the opportunity to stay a bit longer in the cities where it’s safer, do it.”

It was not immediately clear what was hit in the strike on Kyiv’s Darnytskyi district. The sprawling area on the capital’s southeastern edge contains a mix of Soviet-style apartment buildings, new shopping malls and big-box retail stores, industrial areas and rail yards. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said an armored vehicle factory was targeted. He did not specify where the plant was, but there is one in the Darnytskyi district. He said the plant was among several Ukrainian military sites hit by “high-precision, long-range air-launched weapons”. As the United States and Europe send new weapons to Ukraine, the strategy could be aimed at hampering Ukrainian defenses ahead of what is expected to be a full-scale Russian assault in the east.

It is the second strike in the kyiv region since the Russian military pledged this week to step up missile strikes on the capital. Another hit a missile factory on Friday as residents went out for walks, foreign embassies planned to reopen and other tentative signs of the city’s pre-war life began to resurface after the failure Russian troops to capture kyiv and their withdrawal. Kyiv was one of many targets on Saturday. The Ukrainian president’s office reported missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours in eight regions of the country. The governor of the Lviv region in western Ukraine – long considered a safe zone – reported airstrikes on the region by Russian Su-35 jets which took off from neighboring Belarus.

On Saturday, an explosion believed to be caused by a missile sent rescuers scrambling near an open-air market in Kharkiv, according to AP reporters at the scene. One person was killed and at least 18 people were injured, according to rescuers. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who met Vladimir Putin last week in Moscow – the first European leader to do so since the invasion began on February 24 – said the Russian president was “in his own logic of war” against Ukraine. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Nehammer said he thinks Putin believes he’s winning the war and “we have to look him in the eye and we have to confront him with what we let’s see in Ukraine”. Nehammer as well. said he confronted Putin with what he saw during a visit to the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where graphic evidence emerged of murder and torture under Russian occupation, and “this n was not a friendly conversation”. In southeastern Ukraine, the southern port city of Mariupol is holding up, but the situation is critical, the Ukrainian president’s office said.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had been driven out of most of the city and remained only in the huge Azovstal steelworks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more Western weapons and a global embargo on Russian oil, and accused Russian troops of terrorizing civilians in occupied cities. Zelenskyy estimated that 2,500–3,000 Ukrainian soldiers died during the war and around 10,000 were injured. Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday that at least 200 children had been killed and more than 360 injured. Russian forces have also captured some 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Saturday.

Ukraine is holding roughly the same number of Russian soldiers as prisoners and intends to arrange an exchange but demands the release of the civilians “without any conditions”, Vereshchuk said. Russia’s warning about escalating attacks on kyiv came after Russian authorities on Thursday accused Ukraine of injuring seven people and damaging around 100 residential buildings in airstrikes in Bryansk, a border region from Ukraine. The diplomatic chasm between Russia and the West widened further on Saturday when Moscow banned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a dozen other senior British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions.

(With contributions from the agency)

Read also | Russia bars British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior officials from entering due to economic sanctions

Read also | Russian-Ukrainian war: more than 900 civilian bodies found in the kyiv region

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Christi C. Elwood