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Russian troops bombard Ukraine’s second city, threatening Kyiv – Reading Eagle

YURAS KARMANAU, JIM HEINTZ, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, DASHA LITVINOVA

Kiev, Ukraine (AP) —Russian troops bombarded Ukraine’s second largest city on Monday, rocking residential areas and approaching the capital Kyiv with a 17-mile escort fleet of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles. .. Stopping the fight only brought about an agreement to keep talking.

The country’s embarrassed president said the enhanced bombardment was aimed at conceding him.

“I think Russia is trying to put pressure on (Ukraine) in this simple way,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video speech late Monday. He didn’t provide details of the hours of talks that took place earlier, but Kyiv said he wasn’t ready to make concessions “when one was hitting each other with a rocket gun.”

As international criticism grows, Russia finds itself increasingly isolated five days after the invasion, in the face of unexpected fierce resistance on the ground and domestic economic turmoil in Ukraine.

Kremlin has expressed concern about a nuclear war for the second consecutive day, announcing that nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and long-range bombers have all been on alert at the behest of President Vladimir Putin over the weekend. Did.

Putin strengthened his rhetoric and accused the United States and its allies of being a “lie empire.”

Meanwhile, the embarrassed Ukraine has moved to solidify its ties with the West by applying for membership in the European Union. This is largely a symbolic move so far, but it is unlikely to go well with Putin, who has long accused the United States of trying to pull Ukraine. From the orbit of Moscow.

Vladimir Medinsky, an aide to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and head of the Russian delegation, said the first talks between the two countries took place after the invasion lasted nearly five hours, and the envoy said, “A specific point where a common position can be foreseen. I found it. ” He said they agreed to continue the discussion in the next few days.

After negotiations along the Belarusian border, several blasts were heard in Kyiv, and Russian troops advanced the city of about 3 million people. According to Maxar Technologies satellite images, a vast fleet of armored vehicles, tanks, cannons, and support vehicles was 17 miles (25 km) from the city centre.

Kyiv people lined up for groceries after the weekend curfew was over. Standing under the building, there was a big hole on the side. Kyiv continued to be an “important goal” for the Russians, Zelensky said on Monday after being hit by three missile attacks and hundreds of saboteurs roaming the city.

“They want to destroy our national character, which is why the capital is constantly under threat,” Zelensky said.

A message aimed at advancing Russian soldiers appeared on the capital signs, bus stops, and electronic traffic signs. Some people used blasphemous expressions to encourage the Russians to leave. Others have appealed to their humanity.

“Russian soldiers-stop! Remember your family. Go home with a clean conscience,” read one.

A video from Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city with a population of about 1.5 million, showed that residential areas were bombarded and apartment buildings were repeatedly shaken by powerful blasts. A flash of fire and gray smoke were seen.

The footage released by the government from Kharkov portrays what looks like a house with water spouting from a pierced ceiling. There was something on the floor that looked like a non-exploding projectile.

Kharkiv officials said at least seven people were killed and dozens were injured. They warned that casualties could be much higher.

“They wanted a blitzkrieg, but they failed, so they act this way,” said Valentin Petrovic, 83, who saw the bombardment from his downtown apartment and gave him his name and patronymic. Told. Fearing his safety, from his father’s name.

Russian troops refused to target residential areas, despite the abundance of evidence of bombardment in homes, schools and hospitals.

Combat has intensified in other towns and cities across the country. Mariupol, a strategic port city facing the Sea of ​​Azov, is “clinging”, said Zelensky adviser Oleksandr Zelensky. Oil depots were reported to have been bombed in the eastern city of Smy.

Despite its vast military power, Russia still lacks control of Ukraine’s airspace, a surprise that may help explain how Ukraine has so far prevented a rout.

In the seaside resort of Berdyans’k, dozens of protesters angry at the Russian occupiers in the main square, screaming home and singing the Ukrainian national anthem. They described the soldiers as exhausted young drafts.

“Frightened children, frightened looks. They want to eat,” said Constantine Maloretka, who runs a small store, on the phone. He said the soldiers went to the supermarket and got canned meat, vodka and cigarettes.

“They ate right away at the store,” he said. “I don’t seem to be fed these days.”

Throughout Ukraine, horrified families gathered overnight in shelters, basements, or corridors.

“I sit down and pray for the success of these negotiations, and they agree to end the slaughter,” said Alexandra, crying and hugging a cat in a shelter in Mariupol.・ Mihairowa said. Around her, her parents tried to comfort her children and keep them warm.

For many, Russia’s announcement of high nuclear vigilance has aroused fear that the West could be drawn into a direct conflict with Russia. However, on condition of anonymity, a senior US defense official said the United States has not yet seen any noticeable changes in Russia’s nuclear posture.

When widespread western sanctions on Russian banks and other institutions took hold, the ruble plummeted, and like Putin, the Russian central bank scrambled to strengthen it and signed legislation restricting foreign currencies. did.

But it did little to calm Russia’s fears. In Moscow, people were lined up to withdraw cash as sanctions threatened to push up prices and lower the standard of living of millions of ordinary Russians.

In yet another blow to the Russian economy, oil giant Shell said it was withdrawing from the country due to aggression. He has announced that he will withdraw from joint ventures with state-owned gas companies such as Gazprom and end his involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project between Russia and Europe.

The economic sanctions mandated by the United States and other allies were only one of the things that helped Russia improve its status as a Paria.

Russian airlines are banned from European airspace, Russian media is restricted in some countries, and some high-tech products can no longer be exported to that country. On Monday, a big blow to the country of football enthusiasts stopped the Russian team from all international football.

Other developments:

— The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he would soon begin investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

— Cyber ​​attacks have hit Ukrainian embassies and Russian media around the world.

— The United States has announced that it will spy on and expel 12 members of Russia’s UN mission.

— The UN General Assembly of 193 countries held an emergency meeting for the first time in decades, and Speaker Abdullah Shahid called for an immediate suspension and a “complete return to diplomacy and dialogue”.

UN Human Rights Officers said at least 102 civilians were killed and hundreds were injured. It warns that this number is probably very underestimated. The Ukrainian president said at least 16 children had died.

More than 500,000 people have fled the country since the invasion, many to Poland, Romania and Hungary, according to another UN official.

Among the Hungarian refugees was Maria Pavlushko, 24, an information technology project manager for a city in western Kyiv. She said her father stayed behind to fight the Russians.

“I’m proud of him,” she said, adding that many of her friends were also planning to fight.

Negotiators at the talks on Monday met at a long table with a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag on one side and a Russian tricolor flag on the other.

However, the Russian delegation was led by Putin’s cultural adviser while Ukraine sent defense ministers and other senior officials. An unlikely envoy to end the war, perhaps a sign of how seriously Moscow took the negotiations.

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Isachenkov and Litvinova reported from Moscow. Robert Burns and Eric Tucker in Washington. Francesca Ebel, Joseph Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv. Lone Cook in Brussels; and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow the Associated Press coverage of the Ukrainian crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Russian troops bombard Ukraine’s second city, threatening Kyiv – Reading Eagle

Source link Russian troops bombard Ukraine’s second city, threatening Kyiv – Reading Eagle

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