Russia pummels Ukraine’s No. 2 city and convoy nears Kyiv


A girl holds her new child child inside a basement used as a bomb shelter on the Okhmadet youngsters’s hospital in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Explosions and gunfire which have disrupted life for the reason that invasion started final week appeared to subside round Kyiv in a single day, as Ukrainian and Russian delegations met Monday on Ukraine’s border with Belarus. It is unclear what, if something, these talks would yield. Terrified Ukrainian households huddled in shelters, basements or corridors, ready to seek out out. (AP Photograph/Emilio Morenatti)

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian strikes pounded the central sq. in Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis and different civilian targets Tuesday and a 40-mile convoy of tanks and different automobiles threatened the capital. Ukraine’s embattled president accused Moscow of resorting to terror techniques to press Europe’s largest floor conflict in generations.

With the Kremlin more and more remoted by robust financial sanctions which have tanked the ruble forex, Russian troops superior on Ukraine’s two greatest cities on Day 6 of an invasion that has shaken the twenty first century world order. In Kharkiv, a strategic jap metropolis with a inhabitants of about 1.5 million, no less than six individuals had been killed when the area’s Soviet-era administrative constructing was hit. Explosions tore by residential areas, and a maternity ward relocated to an underground shelter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy known as the focused assault on Kharkiv’s primary sq. “frank, undisguised terror,” blaming a Russian missile and calling it a conflict crime. “No one will forgive. No one will overlook. … That is state terrorism of the Russian Federation.”

In an emotional attraction to the European Parliament later, Zelenskyy stated: “We’re preventing additionally to be equal members of Europe. I consider that right this moment we’re exhibiting everyone that’s what we’re … We have now confirmed that, at least, we’re the identical as you.”

Along with the strikes on cities, stories have emerged that Moscow has used cluster bombs on three populated areas. If confirmed, that might characterize a worrying new degree of brutality within the conflict — and will result in even additional isolation in Russia.


We’re preventing additionally to be equal members of Europe. I consider that right this moment we’re exhibiting everyone that’s what we’re … We have now confirmed that, at least, we’re the identical as you.

–Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President


Already, with Western powers sending weapons to Ukraine and driving a world squeeze of Russia’s economic system, President Vladimir Putin’s choices have diminished as he seeks to redraw the worldwide map — and pull Ukraine’s western-leaning democracy again into Moscow’s orbit.

The Kremlin denied Tuesday that it has used such munitions and insisted once more that its forces solely have struck navy targets — regardless of proof documented by AP reporters of shelling of houses, colleges and hospitals.

Unbowed by Western condemnation, Russian officers upped their threats of escalation — days after elevating the specter of a nuclear assault. The Russian protection minister vowed Tuesday to press the offensive till it achieves its targets, whereas a high Kremlin official warned that the West’s “financial conflict” towards Russia might flip right into a “actual one.”

A primary spherical of talks Monday between Ukraine and Russia yielded no cease within the preventing, although each side agreed to a different assembly in coming days.

All through the nation, many Ukrainian civilians spent one other evening huddled in shelters, basements or corridors. Greater than a half-million individuals have fled the nation, and the U.N. human rights workplace stated Tuesday that it has recorded the deaths of 136 civilians, together with 13 youngsters. The true toll is probably going far greater.

“It’s a nightmare, and it seizes you from the within very strongly. This can’t be defined with phrases,” stated Kharkiv resident Ekaterina Babenko, taking shelter in a basement with neighbors for a fifth straight day. “We have now babies, aged individuals and admittedly talking it is vitally scary.”


We have now babies, aged individuals and admittedly talking it is vitally scary.

–Ekaterina Babenko, Kharkiv resident


A Ukrainian navy official stated Belarusian troops joined the conflict Tuesday within the Chernihiv area, with out offering particulars. However simply earlier than that, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated his nation had no plans to hitch the struggle.

The precision bombing of Kharkiv’s Freedom Sq. — Ukraine’s largest plaza, and the nucleus of public life for town — was a turning level for a lot of Ukrainians, brazen proof that the Russian invasion wasn’t nearly hitting navy targets but additionally about breaking their spirits.

The strike blew out or shattered home windows and partitions of buildings that ring the huge central sq., which was piled excessive with particles and dirt. Inside one constructing, chunks of plaster had been scattered, and doorways, ripped from their hinges, lay throughout hallways.

“Individuals are below the ruins, we have now pulled out our bodies,” stated Yevhen Vasylenko, consultant of the Emergency Conditions Ministry in Kharkiv area. Along with the six killed, he stated 20 had been wounded within the strike.

Regional administration chief Oleh Sinehubov stated that no less than 11 individuals had been killed and scores of others had been wounded the day earlier than, throughout Monday’s shelling of town.

A view shows the area near the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday.
A view exhibits the world close to the regional administration constructing, which metropolis officers stated was hit by a missile assault, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday. (Photograph: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy, Reuters)

One after the opposite, explosions burst by a residential space of Kharkiv in a single video verified by AP. Within the background, a person pleaded with a lady to depart, and a lady cried.

Decided for all times to go on regardless of the assaults, hospital employees transferred a Kharkiv maternity ward to a bomb shelter. Amid makeshift electrical sockets and mattresses piled up towards the partitions, pregnant ladies paced the crowded area, accompanied by the cries of dozens of newborns.

Russia’s targets in hitting central Kharkiv weren’t instantly clear. Western officers speculated that it’s attempting to tug in Ukrainian forces to defend town whereas a bigger Russian pressure encircles Kyiv. They consider Putin’s general objective is to overthrow the Ukrainian authorities and set up a pleasant one.

Zelenskyy stated Russia was utilizing the strikes to place strain on his authorities. He didn’t provide particulars of the talks between Ukrainian and Russian envoys, however he stated Monday evening that Kyiv was not ready to make concessions “when one aspect is hitting one other with rocket artillery.”

In the meantime, Russian troops superior towards Kyiv, a metropolis of almost 3 million. The convoy of armored automobiles, tanks, artillery and help automobiles was 25 kilometers (17 miles) from the middle of town and stretched about 65 kilometers (40 miles), based on satellite tv for pc imagery from Maxar Applied sciences.

In a worrying improvement, Human Rights Watch has stated it documented a cluster bomb assault exterior a hospital in Ukraine’s east in current days. Native residents have additionally reported using the munitions in Kharkiv and the village of Kiyanka close to the northern metropolis of Chernihiv, although there was no unbiased affirmation.

The Worldwide Prison Court docket chief prosecutor has stated he plans to open a Ukraine investigation and is monitoring the battle.

Flames shot up from a navy base northeast of Kyiv, within the suburb of Brovary, in footage taken from a automobile driving previous. In one other video verified by AP, a passenger pleads with the motive force, “Misha, we have to drive rapidly as they will strike once more.”

And Ukrainian authorities launched particulars and images of an assault Sunday on a navy base in Okhtyrka, a metropolis between Kharkiv and Kyiv, saying greater than 70 Ukrainian troopers had been killed together with some native residents. The assault couldn’t be instantly confirmed.

The Russian navy’s actions have been stalled by fierce resistance on the bottom and a shocking incapability to dominate Ukraine’s airspace.

Ukrainians used resourcefulness to attempt to cease the Russian advance: On a freeway between Odesa and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, residents piled tractor tires crammed with sand and topped with sandbags to dam Russian navy convoys. In Kyiv, sandbags had been heaped in entrance of doorways and home windows of Metropolis Corridor.

Within the face of that Ukrainian resistance and crippling Western sanctions, Putin has put Russia’s nuclear forces on excessive alert — together with intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range bombers — in a stark warning to the West and a sign of his readiness to escalate the tensions to a terrifying new degree. However a senior U.S. protection official, talking on situation of anonymity, stated the US had but to see any considerable change in Russia’s nuclear posture.

Western nations have elevated weapons shipments to Ukraine to assist its forces defend themselves — however have up to now dominated out sending in troops.

As far-reaching Western sanctions on Russian banks and different establishments took maintain, the ruble plummeted, and Russia’s Central Financial institution scrambled to shore it up, as did Putin, signing a decree proscribing overseas forex.

However that did little to calm Russian fears. In Moscow, individuals lined as much as withdraw money because the sanctions threatened to drive up costs and scale back the usual of residing for thousands and thousands of peculiar individuals.

The financial sanctions, ordered by the U.S. and different allies, had been only one contributor to Russia’s rising standing as a pariah nation.

Russian airliners are banned from European airspace, Russian media is restricted in some international locations, and a few high-tech merchandise can now not be exported to the nation. Worldwide sports activities our bodies moved to exclude Russian athletes — within the newest blow Tuesday, Russians had been barred from worldwide ice skating occasions.

Contributing: Robert Burns, Eric Tucker, Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman, Andrew Drake, Lorne Cook dinner, different AP journalists from all over the world

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