LONDON — Britain’s defense ministry says heavy fighting is continuing north of Kyiv as Russian forces press on with a stalled effort to encircle Ukraine’s capital city.
In an update Monday on social media, the ministry said Russian forces advancing on the city from the northeast have stalled, and troops advancing from the direction of Hostomel to the northwest have been pushed back by fierce Ukrainian resistance. It said the bulk of Russian forces were more than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the city center.
UK officials said that “despite the continued lack of progress, Kyiv remains Russia’s primary military objective and they are likely to prioritize attempting to encircle the city over the coming weeks.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Russia demands Mariupol lay down arms but Ukraine says no
— ‘No city anymore’:Mariupol survivors take train to safety
— Biden adds stop in Poland, crucial ally in the Ukraine crisis, to his trip this week to Europe
Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage
OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TODAY:
JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister says the country is managing its involvement with Ukraine and Russia “in a sensitive, generous and responsible way while balancing various and complex considerations” after Ukraine’s president called on Israel to take sides.
Naftali Bennett spoke on the tarmac at Israel’s main international airport as an aid delegation was set to depart for Ukraine to set up a field hospital for refugees near the Polish border.
A day earlier Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rebuked Israel in a televised address to Israeli parliament members, saying Israel should provide arms and impose sanctions on Russia.
Israel has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has acted as an intermediary between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. While Israel has condemned Russia’s invasion, it has also refrained from taking action that would anger Moscow out of concern of jeopardizing its military coordination in neighboring Syria.
Bennett said that “Israel has extended its hand in aid in the Ukraine crisis for several weeks, very much from the first moment, through different channels,” pointing to humanitarian aid shipments and taking in Ukrainian refugees and immigrants.
LVIV, Ukraine — Emergency officials have contained an ammonia leak at a chemical plant that contaminated wide area in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, officials said Monday.
Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy didn’t say what caused the leak, which spread about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) in all directions from the Sumykhimprom plant.
The plant is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 263,000 and has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks.
KYIV, Ukraine — Shelling in a Kyiv neighborhood has devastated a shopping center, leaving a flattened ruin still smoldering Monday morning in the midst of high-rise towers.
Overnight shelling near the city center late Sunday left at least eight dead according to emergency officials. The force of the explosion shattered every window in the high-rise next door and twisted their metal frames.
In the distance, the sound of artillery rang out as firefighters picked up their way through the destruction in the densely populated Podil district.
LVIV, Ukraine — An ammonia leak at a chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has contaminated an area with a radius of more than 2.5 kilometers (about 1.5 miles), officials said early Monday.
Sumy regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy didn’t say what caused the leak.
The Sumykhimprom plant is on the eastern outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 263,000 and has been regularly shelled by Russian troops in recent weeks.
“For the center of Sumy, there is no threat now, since the wind does not blow on the city,” said Zhyvytskyy.
He said the nearby village of Novoselytsya, about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) southeast of Sumy, is under threat.
Emergency crews were working to contain the leak.
NEW YORK — The Russian military has offered the Ukrainian troops defending the strategic port of Mariupol to lay down arms and exit the city via humanitarian corridors, but that proposal was quickly rejected by the Ukrainian authorities.
Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said Sunday that all Ukrainian soldiers could leave the Azov Sea port Monday using safe routes for evacuating civilians that had been previously agreed with Ukraine and head to areas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. He said that “all those who lay down arms will be guaranteed a safe exit from Mariupol.”
Mizintsev added that Russia will wait until 5 am Monday for a written Kyiv’s response to the Russian proposal for the Ukrainian troops to leave Mariupol but didn’t say what action Russia will take if its “humanitarian offer” is rejected.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in remarks carried by Ukrainska Pravda news outlet that Kyiv already had told Russia that “there can be no talk about surrender and laying down weapons.” She rejected the Russian statement as “manipulation.”
Mizintsev said that the deliveries of humanitarian supplies to the city will immediately follow if the Ukrainian troops agree to leave the city. He added that civilians will be free to choose whether to leave Mariupol or stay in the city.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the Russian bombing of a school in Mariupol where civilians took refuge.
Speaking in a video address early Monday, Zelenskyy said about 400 civilians were taking shelter at the art school in the besieged Azov Sea port city when it was struck by a Russian bomb.
“They are under the rubble, and we don’t know how many of them have survived,” he said. “But we know that we will certainly shoot down the pilot who dropped that bomb, like about 100 other such mass murderers whom we already have downed.”
Zelenskyy, who spoke to members of the Israeli parliament via video link on Sunday, thanked Israel for its efforts to broker talks with Russia. He praised Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for trying to help “find a negotiation track with Russia … so that we sooner or later start talking with Russia, possibly in Jerusalem.”
“It would be the right place to find peace if possible,” he added.
The Ukrainian president also said that he had a call Sunday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a “true friend of Ukraine,” to discuss support for Ukraine during this week’s summit of the Group of Seven and NATO.
Zelenskyy said 7,295 Ukrainians were evacuated from zones of combat on Sunday, including nearly 4,000 from Mariupol. He also hailed people in the southern city of Kherson for taking to the streets Sunday to protest the Russian occupation, showing “Ukrainian courage, armless against the occupiers.”