Kyiv, Ukraine – Russia has deepened its military attack In southern Ukraine, break through the city of Kherson and advance toward Zaporizhia, as both sides prepare to resume ceasefire talks after Moscow’s week-long incursion into the country’s north was halted.
Russian forces continued Thursday Bombing of residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, and Chernihiv in the north. Moscow also launched air strikes on the capital, Kyiv, and several Russian warships appeared near the southern port city of Odessa in what Ukrainian officials said could be the early stages of an amphibious assault.
The capture of Odessa and other coastal cities still under Kyiv’s control would deprive Ukraine of its Black Sea coast and the ports through which most of the country’s exports are shipped.
Kherson, located at the mouth of the Dnipro River near the Black Sea, is the first regional capital to come under Russian occupation after more than a week of fighting and heavy bombardment. Local authorities said they are working to restore electricity and heating, get food and other vital supplies into the city and collect bodies from its streets.
Kherson Governor Hanadi Lahota said on social media that Russian forces occupied the regional government headquarters on Thursday, while Ukrainian authorities in the city continued their work. He said that one of their main priorities in negotiations with Russian forces was to resume operations of a giant poultry farm in the nearby town of Chornobayvka, where about three million birds were on the verge of dying, something that could contaminate the water supply. , causing an environmental disaster.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the residents of the regions occupied by Russia to resist, saying that sooner or later the Russians would have to leave.
“We will chase them away shyly,” he said. Every occupier should know that he will get nothing here. They will not have anyone subject to them. Wherever they enter they will be exterminated. They will not rest, they will not have food. They won’t have one quiet minute.”
Protests to raise Ukrainian flags have broken out in several small towns that Russian forces have taken over in recent days. Prior to the war, Kyiv prepared survival units behind the rebels that would focus on disrupting the rear of the Russian forces.
As the second week of Russia’s war on Ukraine began, Ukrainian and Russian officials were preparing to start a second round of talks in Belarus, to follow up on inconclusive negotiations on Monday. On Thursday afternoon, the adviser to the Ukrainian President, Mikhailo Podolyak, published a selfie in a helicopter, saying that he was on his way to negotiations. Another Ukrainian negotiator, parliamentary majority leader David Arakhmeyeh, said in a post that Kyiv expects, at a minimum, that Russian forces will allow humanitarian corridors to be established for trapped civilians.
The prospects for an agreement that would stop the war are uncertain. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said any agreement with Kyiv should include a clause on the destruction of weapons that threaten Russia, according to the RIA news agency. Western countries poured large supplies of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles into Ukraine’s defenses this year, while Turkey provided Bayraktar TB-2 drones that Kyiv used to destroy Russian columns.
Ukrainian forces have managed to thwart Russia’s advances in Kyiv and Kharkiv, and even retake some areas in a counterattack northwest of the capital, according to government data and video footage. However, the strong resistance from Ukraine pushed the Kremlin to it Switch to strategy Indiscriminate attacks, bombing of civilian areas in an attempt to demoralize the population of Ukraine.
Western officials fear that Moscow is paving the way for the Russian military to use siege tactics, locking up civilians and resistance fighters within urban areas, and cutting off food and supplies from them. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has compared conditions facing urban centers in Ukraine to Aleppo in northern Syria, which has been decimated by the Russian-backed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“The worst is still ahead,” said Mr. Le Drian, adding that Kharkiv, a predominantly Russian city in eastern Ukraine, and Mariupol on the coast of the Sea of Azov are at risk of being blockaded.
A student who lives in the city said the sounds of gunfire were calm and the streets were quiet in Kherson, adding that Russian forces seemed to be in control. She said civilians are back on the streets, heading to buy food before a Ukrainian counter-attack they expect in a few days, adding that she was afraid.
Kherson Mayor Igor Kulekhaev wrote in
After “armed visitors” entered his city council building, adding that he did not negotiate with them. The mayor said he is adopting a curfew and advised residents to “walk one by one, a maximum of two” when going outside.
The army will not be provoked. Stop at the first order.”
Russian forces in southern Ukraine also occupied several towns in the Zaporizhia region, northeast of Kherson, and approached the regional capital. On Wednesday, they arrived in the town of Innerhodar, home to Europe’s largest operating nuclear power plant. They did not attempt to take the town by force and the area around the nuclear plants was spared fighting for the time being.
Russian troops were moving towards the birthplace of Mr. Zelensky, the large industrial city of Kryvyi Rih, northeast of Kherson. Residents said the Regional Defense Forces and the regular Ukrainian army in Kryvyi Rih, a largely Russian-speaking city, had begun preparing the area’s defenses.
Andrei Malets, a businessman who lives in Kryvyi Rih, said the town was quiet on Thursday, but there had been cases of looting before a possible Russian advance. Armed locals began to patrol the crowded areas to maintain order. Mr. Mallets lived in Russia for six years, and described himself as a formerly pro-Russian. He said “now”. “I will take up arms and kill the Russian enemy with tears in my eyes.”
He launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the goal of quickly capturing Kyiv and overthrowing the Ukrainian leadership. Western and Ukrainian military officials said the military campaign outside Kyiv has stalled amid fierce resistance, low morale and logistical difficulties.
The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged heavy losses, saying that 498 Russian soldiers were killed and 1,597 wounded in the first seven days of the conflict. Moscow said its forces had killed 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukraine has not released military casualty figures, but says its army killed 5,840 Russian soldiers. Ukrainian officials put the civilian death toll in the invasion at 2,000.
Over the past week, one million people in Ukraine have fled to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.
Drew Henshaw and Ann M Simmons contributed to this article.
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