Russian forces surround Kiev and blockade Mariupol

Russian forces were stationed around Kyiv on Saturday and shelled civilian areas of other Ukrainian cities, including a hospital in Mikolaiv, and tightened the siege of Mariupola southeastern port city under siege for two weeks.

Russian bombing destroyed the airport Vasylkiv on Saturday morning, about 40 km south of Kiev, where a gasoline depot caught fire, according to the mayor of that city.

The northwestern suburbs of the capital, such as Irpin and Bushahhave been under Russian bombs for days, while Moscow’s armor advances along the northeast axis.

Counselor of the Ukrainian presidency Mikhailo Podolyak stated that the capital “is under siege”.

The Ukrainian army indicated that the Russian troops focus their efforts in the capital, in Mariúpol and in several towns in the center such as Krivói Rog, Kremenchuk, Nikopol or Zaporizhia. Local media also indicated the activation of anti-aircraft sirens on Saturday in Kiev, Odessa, Dnipro and Kharkiv.

Situation “almost desperate” in Mariupol

After twelve days of siege, much of the attention is focused on Mariupol, in the Sea of ​​Azov, whose inhabitants are incommunicado, without water, gas or electricity and even fight to get food. It is an “almost hopeless” situation, he warned. Doctors without borders (MSF).

“The enemy is still blocking Mariupol,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday night. “Russian troops have not let our aid into the city,” he criticized, promising to try again to get supplies into the city.

“Besieged Mariupol is currently the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet. 1,582 civilians killed in twelve days, buried in mass graves like this one,” Ukraine’s chief diplomat Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet accompanied by a photo of a ditch with corpses.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated this Saturday that the russian forces they bombed the mosque of the sultan Solimán de Mariúpol, where there were 80 refugee civilians, but one of those involved in the evacuation operations of that city denied it shortly after.

In statements to the Turkish chain HaberTürkIsmail Hacioglu, president of the association of that mosque, explained that the neighborhood where the mosque is located was being attacked but that the temple was not reached by the fire.

“The Russians are bombing the area […] which is 2 km from the mosque, and a bomb fell about 700 meters from the mosque,” Hacioglu had previously stated on Instagram.

In addition, the person in charge specified HaberTürk that inside the mosque there were thirty Turkish citizens, “including children” and that his association had tried to evacuate Turkish citizens on four occasions, without success. “The Russians did not let us cross the barriers,” she said, adding that they plan to “try it for the fifth time.”

The Turkish government refused to react Saturday to reports of the mosque bombing.

Another attempt to evacuate civilians from that city through a humanitarian corridor to Zaporizhia, 200 km to the northeast, was planned for this Saturday, the Ukrainian government said.

Refugees welcomed “with tenderness”

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Mikolaiv, a hospital burned down and many residents had to flee, an AFP journalist said.

“They are attacking civilian areas, without any military objective,” hospital chief Dmytro Lagochev said. “Here there is a hospital, an orphanage and an eye clinic,” he added.

The humanitarian crisis is worsening, with almost 2.6 million people exiled from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, according to figures from the UN.

To them must be added some two million internally displaced persons, said the head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi.

The largest exodus occurred towards Poland which, according to its border body, has received 1.5 million people.

These refugees “do not feel like visitors. They have welcomed them into their families with tenderness, with brotherly kindness,” Zelensky said in a message praising the neighboring country.

For his part, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, accused the Ukrainian forces of “flagrant violations” of humanitarian law and asked his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to pressure Kiev to put finish.

He did so during a phone call, this Saturday, with his two European peers, in which he mentioned “extrajudicial killings of opponents”, “hostage taking by civilians” and their “use as human shields”, according to a Kremlin statement. .

Macron and Scholz also spoke by phone with Zelenski, the Ukrainian presidency reported on Saturday, which indicated that the president asked them for help to free the mayor of the southern city of Militipol who, according to the Ukrainian authorities, would have been kidnapped by Russian soldiers the day before. .

trade restrictions

The United States and its Western allies continue to put economic pressure on Moscow, opening the door for punitive tariffs and less trade with the country.

The European Union and the G7 have joined the United States in revoking Russia’s “most favored nation” status, which facilitates the exchange of goods and services. In addition, US President Joe Biden announced a ban on imports of Russian fish, shellfish, vodka and diamonds.

On Friday, Macron had warned of more “massive sanctions” if Moscow intensifies the bombing or besieges Kiev, without ruling out even banning imports of hydrocarbons from Russia, on which the European energy market depends.

In addition to economic pressure, Western countries have sent military equipment to Ukraine, but they avoid a direct confrontation between the NATO and Moscow which, in Biden’s words, would spark “World War III.”

A material sent in convoys that Russia warned this Saturday could be attacked.

“We have warned the United States that the delivery of weapons that they are orchestrating from a number of countries is not only a dangerous act, but also turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned. .

And Zelenski, who has not tired of asking for more military support, sought luck with a call to mothers in Russia to prevent their children from being sent to war.

“Check where your son is. And if you have the slightest suspicion that your son may have been sent to war against Ukraine, act immediately” to prevent him from being killed or captured, he said in a video.


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