KYIV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — The United Nations on Friday called for brokerage to evacuate civilians from the increasingly hellish ruins of Mariupol, while Ukraine accused Russia of showing its contempt for the world organization by bombing Kyiv. Alleged while the UN leader was visiting. capital.
Mariupol’s mayor said the situation inside the steel plant, which has become the southern port city’s last stronghold, is dire, and citizens are “begging to be saved.” Mayor Vadim Boichenko said: “There, it’s not a matter of days. It’s a matter of hours.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military struggles to stop Russian attempts to advance south and east, where the Kremlin is trying to capture the country’s industrial Donbass region. Artillery fire, sirens and explosions could be heard in some cities.
– A former US Marine was killed fighting with the Ukrainian military, his family said in what would be the first known war death of an American in combat. The US has not confirmed the report.
– The Ukrainian army is cracking down on people accused of helping Russian soldiers. In the Kharkiv region alone, some 400 have been detained under anti-cooperation laws created after the February 24 invasion of Moscow.
The international sanctions imposed on the Kremlin regarding the war are shaking the country. The Russian Central Bank said Russia’s economy is expected to contract by 10% this year, and the outlook is “extremely uncertain”.
Moscow’s military launched a missile attack on a residential high-storey and another building in Kyiv on Thursday after Russia withdrew from the region earlier this month, disrupting weeks of peace in the capital.
US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said one of its journalists, Veera Hyrach, was killed in the bombing. Officials said ten people were injured, one of whom lost a leg.
The missile strike came barely an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“It says a lot about Russia’s true attitude toward global institutions, the Russian leadership’s attempts to discredit the United Nations, and everything the organization represents,” Zelensky said.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said the attack was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s way of giving Guterres “his middleman”.
In an apparent reference to the Kyiv bombing, Russia’s military said it had destroyed “production buildings” at the Artem Defense Factory.
The missile strike happened just as life in Kyiv was coming back a little closer to normal, cafes and other businesses reopened and there were an increasing number of people going out to enjoy the arrival of spring.
Volodymyr Fesenko, a Ukrainian political analyst and head of the Kyiv-based Penta Center think tank, said the attack carried a message: “Russia is sending a clear signal about its intention to continue the war despite international pressure.”
It has been difficult to get a full picture of the fighting in the east as the barrage of airstrikes and artillery made it extremely dangerous for journalists to move around. Both Ukraine and Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the past have also imposed strict restrictions on reporting from the war zone.
But so far, Russia’s troops and separatist forces have made only modest gains.
In the bombed city of Mariupol, about 100,000 people were believed to be trapped with little food, water or medicine. An estimated 2,000 Ukrainian defenders and 1,000 civilians were holed up at the Azovstal Steel Plant.
The Soviet-era steel plant has a vast underground network of bunkers capable of withstanding air strikes. But the situation has worsened after Russia dropped the “Bunker Buster” and other bombs.
“The locals who manage to leave Mariupol say it is hell, but when they leave this fortress, they say it is worse,” said Mayor Boichenko.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the organization was in talks with officials in Moscow and Kyiv to create a safer route.
This time, “we hope there is a light touch of humanity in the enemy,” said Meyer. Ukraine has attributed the failure of several previous evacuation efforts to continued Russian shelling.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV that the real problem is “humanitarian corridors being ignored by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists.” Moscow has repeatedly claimed that right-wing Ukrainians are thwarting evacuation efforts and using civilians as human shields.
Also on Friday, two cities in central Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region were hit by Russian rockets, the regional governor said. There was no immediate word on casualties or damage.
Fighting could be heard from Kramatorsk to Sloviansk, two cities located about 18 kilometers (11 mi) apart in the Donbass. Plumes of smoke rose from the Slovak region and neighboring cities. At least one person is reported to have been injured in the shelling.
The governor of Russia’s Kursk region said a mortar attack on a border post from the Ukrainian side and Russian border forces retaliated. He said there was no casualty on the Russian side.
According to the regional governor, hundreds of people were evacuated to the village of Ruska Lozava near Kharkiv after the Ukrainian army recaptured the city from Russian occupiers. Those who fled to Kharkiv spoke of the dire situation under the Russians with little water or food and no electricity.
“We were hiding in the basement. It was appalling. The basement was shaking with explosions. We were screaming, we were crying and we were praying to God, ”said Lyudmila Bochurnikova.
A video posted by Ukraine’s Azov Battalion shows soldiers waving a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag over a government building in the center of the village, though fighting continues on the outskirts.
Former US Marine Willie Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother Rebecca Cabrera told Nation World News.
“He wanted to end up because he believed what Ukraine was fighting for,” he said, “and he wanted to be a part of it to get it there, so it didn’t come here, and maybe our American soldiers will be in it.” No need to get involved.”
The Marine Corps said Cancel served four years, but was discharged from bad conduct and sentenced to five months in prison for violating orders. No information was given about the crime.
At least two other foreigners fighting on the Ukrainian side, one from Britain and the other from Denmark, have also been killed.