Ukrainians rush to Slovakian border in desperate bid to get to safety

The chilly winter photo voltaic rises over the Carpathian mountain range. A kilometer-long convoy of automobiles has formed in entrance of crucial Ukrainian-Slovak border crossing, Vysne Nemecke.

Numerous of Ukrainians are already standing on the very best of the hill the place the freeway leads proper all the way down to the Ukrainian customs — all of them are fleeing the battle of their nation, making an attempt to cross the border and get to safety in Slovakia in the European Union.
The gang principally consists of women and kids, from infants to children. The toddlers are in strollers or of their mothers’ arms. Most people are merely carrying backpacks, large purses or shopping for baggage.
There are hardly any males in line and people which are, are solely proper right here to escort their households to the border. Vasil Balchuk, a Ukrainian man in his 50s, has launched his partner and kids proper right here.
“My partner, daughter-in-law and kids are going to kin throughout the Czech Republic,” he says. “I’m in the intervening time serving throughout the territorial safety of Uzhhorod. If the Russians come proper right here too, I will fight. I’ve educated throughout the navy.”
Like a lot of his compatriots, Balchuk firmly believes that the Russian navy is likely to be defeated by Ukraine: “We’ve got to keep up Kyiv for quite a lot of further days, then Putin is likely to be pressured to barter. And an unbiased Ukraine will survive.”
Nonetheless, he believes the state of affairs is simply too dangerous for his partner and kids and prefers sending them to a protected worldwide nation.

Escape to the Czech Republic

The prepared time on the border seems numerous, for hours the street of automobiles would not switch the least bit or solely at a snail’s tempo. The border clearance staff is sluggish, notably on the Ukrainian aspect. Within the meantime, further people from Ukraine protect arriving with the street of automobiles getting ever longer. Troopers from the Ukrainian border guard wrestle to maintain order.

Map of Uzhhorod and Lviv in Ukraine

Volunteer firefighters and help staff provide water, tea and refreshments for these prepared. They’ve moreover prepare a giant tent for people to warmth up a bit. Nevertheless no one from the prolonged queue in entrance of the border crossing heads there, afraid of dropping their hard-won spot throughout the line.
“People, no pushing! We cannot assist you to in until we get instructions,” the commander of the Slovakian border guard unit retains shouting. No exceptions are made, solely diplomatic cars have priority.
Tatiana needs to cross the border alongside together with her 4 children. “We will Kolin in central Bohemia to go to my husband, he works on a constructing web site there,” she explains in fluent Czech. There are plenty of people proper right here with ties to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and that’s the place they want to go.

A checkered earlier

Carpathian Ukraine, in the intervening time the Ukrainian space of Transcarpathia, was the easternmost part of what was Czechoslovakia between the world wars.
In 1945, however, it was annexed by the Stalinist Soviet Union in a violation of the 1943 Czechoslovak-Soviet State Settlement. Due to this, 1000’s of residents left their properties for Czechoslovakia. After the collapse of the USSR, completely different Carpatho-Ukrainians joined them to work on constructing web sites and in factories throughout the successor states of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
As we communicate, about 100,000 immigrants from Ukraine have Czech citizenship, and 200,000 keep utterly throughout the Czech Republic. About 10,000 Ukrainians keep in Slovakia with an unlimited chunk belonging to the ethnic Ukrainian minority, which settled primarily in Presov and near the Ukrainian border. There, place names and street indicators are every in Slovakian and Ukrainian.

bust of President Tomas Masaryk
In Uzhhorod, there are numerous reminders of its Czech earlier like this bust of President Tomas Masaryk

Throughout the Ukrainian metropolis of Uzhhorod itself, there are a selection of reminders of the Czech earlier. A district with buildings of the Czechoslovak authorities from the Thirties is a throwback to the time sooner than 1945. There’s moreover a monument to the first Czechoslovakian president, Tomas Masaryk.
The bridge over the Uh River will also be named after him, as is an space school. “Masaryk’s Jubilee School” says a sign in Czech on the doorway to the developing.

Hub for refugees

As we communicate, Uzhhorod has 100,000 inhabitants. Sooner than the pandemic, town with its picturesque location was highly regarded with vacationers. Now, all resorts, guesthouses and hostels are completely booked by refugees from Ukraine.
“I have no idea the place to start working,” says Natalia from the Hostel Kakadu. “We’re totally overcrowded, and new people identify regularly asking for lodging.”
The hostel, she says, is now a refugee camp, housing people from all through Ukraine, nevertheless principally households with children and loads of with pets.
“That’s the ultimate cat. No further pets,” Natalia tells the model new arrivals. Although she would possibly, she has not raised prices. “You shouldn’t earn a residing from battle,” she says. Many alternative locals see it the equivalent method.
People in and spherical Uzhhorod think about that the battle started by Russia isn’t going to unfold proper right here. “We’re protected by the mountains of the Carpathians, which are as a lot as 2,000 meters extreme, and the proximity to NATO nations similar to the Czech Republic or Slovakia,” Oleksandr Macucha acknowledged all through a dialogue with mates over a beer throughout the evening. ”
If the Russians want to come proper right here, we’re going to look ahead to them throughout the mountains. They won’t get through,” he offers
A buddy of Macucha’s isn’t so sure. “The mountains can not stop bombers and missiles. They could assault us tomorrow,” the marginally older Arseniy says.

‘We’re stopping for Europe’

Every the geographic proximity to Slovakia — and thus to the West —and the historic ties of the people on each aspect of the Ukrainian border has raised questions on why the realm is being left to fend for itself.
“We’ve got now monuments to Masaryk proper right here, we used to belong to Czechoslovakia. Why don’t the Czechs, Slovakians and all of Europe come to our help now?” asks Vasil, a cab driver.

Thousands of people waiting near the Slovak-Ukrainian border
In newest days, the numbers of Ukrainian refugees on the Slovakian border have been rising

An aged Ukrainian woman on the border crossing asks Slovak President Zuzana Caputova for help. “Please help Ukraine, Madam President. We want to get to Europe. Putin is attacking not solely Ukraine, however as well as you, Europe. In Ukraine, we’re stopping for Europe.”
On the border crossings, every the Czech Republic and Slovakia are serving to the refugees. Throughout the first week, about 70,000 refugees crossed the border into Slovakia. Most of them have moved on to Ukrainian kin and mates throughout the Czech Republic, whereas just some thousand have stayed in Slovakia so far.
“The first stream of refugees hasn’t started however. And it’ll doubtless be so much, so much bigger,” an official from Slovakia’s presidential office suggested DW. “Nevertheless we’re ready, we’ll accommodate tens of 1000’s of refugees from Ukraine in our nation.”

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Energy costs in Germany push up inflation for the month of February

In keeping with contemporary figures, client costs jumped by greater than 5% in February. Specialists have warned that rising inflation may be right here to remain because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked widespread worry.
At a fuel station in Munich, Germany, the present worth of gasoline is proven. As a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, vitality prices are anticipated to proceed excessive. Gasoline and diesel costs in Germany have been constantly breaking information. On Tuesday, the German authorities launched official statistics displaying that inflation climbed once more in February. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has scuppered possibilities of financial revival in Europe’s greatest financial system, which had beforehand been anticipated to decrease inflation.
What have been the statements of the authorities?
In keeping with preliminary statistics issued by Germany’s Federal Statistical Workplace, Destatis, client costs climbed by 5.3% in February over the identical month final yr. In keeping with a press assertion, the inflation price elevated by 0.9 % from January. In December 2021, month-to-month inflation within the nation was at 5.3 %, the best stage in over 30 years.
In February, why was inflation so excessive?
Because of “vitality product prices,” in addition to “supply bottlenecks and appreciable worth rises at upstream levels of the financial course of,” the inflation price in February was predominantly influenced by these elements, Destatis added. As a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed, German authorities described these current strains as “superimposed.” It’s doable that sanctions and market turbulence triggered by the graduation of battle in February could have a larger influence in March, though Destatis didn’t comment on this chance.
What are the repercussions of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine?
Russia’s financial system has already been impacted by the conflict and sanctions imposed by Western nations, and vitality costs in Europe have been affected. Many European nations rely closely on Russian oil and fuel. An AFP report cited KfW’s chief economist, Fritzi Koehler-Geib, as saying, “The event of fuel and crude oil costs is predicted to stay essential for the event of German client costs within the coming months.”
She went on to say that additional sanctions imposed by the US and Europe may result in “new will increase.” For the subsequent a number of months, HQ Belief’s senior economist, Michael Heise, predicts that inflation will proceed round 5% or so. As a result of Ukraine battle, vitality prices will not be projected to fall any time quickly, in keeping with Heise.
After that, what occurs?
Inflation estimates for the Eurozone are anticipated on Wednesday after Germany’s knowledge is launched. Eurozone inflation can be a serious topic of dialogue when the European Central Financial institution (ECB) meets subsequent week, with some analysts anticipating extra fast tightening financial coverage to fight the results of the conflict.
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What Russia Is Doing to Ukraine Must Be Preserved—Not Just Seen

On Monday, Karim A.A. Khan QC, prosecutor of the Worldwide Legal Courtroom (ICC) in The Hague, introduced that the Workplace of the Prosecutor (OTP) was opening an investigation into alleged warfare crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity being dedicated in Ukraine. “I’ve already tasked my crew to discover all proof preservation alternatives,” he stated in an announcement, inviting anybody with related info to e-mail it to his workplace.

The data essential to the investigation—together with pictures, movies, satellite tv for pc photographs, and audio recordsdata of the battle—might be emailed as a result of it’s largely composed of crowdsourced cellular information. On Instagram, Ukrainians publish tales containing movies of bombed-out buildings and smoke rising from residential neighborhoods. On Telegram, a Kharkiv information channel shares photographs of murdered civilians within the heart of town, bleeding out onto the road, of gutted condominium buildings. On Twitter, movies of bombing victims in Kyiv flow into.

This circulation displays the character of latest warfare: We’ve got seen these sorts of photographs make the rounds earlier than, from Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere. On Tuesday, the UN Worldwide Courtroom of Justice, additionally situated in The Hague, adopted Khan’s lead, asserting that subsequent week it too would maintain public hearings on allegations of genocide dedicated by the Russian Federation in opposition to Ukraine.

However the worldwide group has not but settled on a standardized method which may make sure the preservation of this digital proof. There is no such thing as a extensively used methodology to ensure that when the perpetrators are tried—and they are going to be tried, in absentia or in any other case—the considerable documentation of their crimes will meet the evidentiary necessities of their courts. Whereas many courts, together with the ICC, have beforehand admitted user-generated proof, there may be an unprecedented quantity of doubtless related information popping out of Ukraine. As Rebecca Hamilton and Lindsay Freeman write for Simply Safety, “an eventual case from Ukraine could be one of many first, and positively essentially the most main, instance of reliance on user-generated proof by the OTP at trial, the place the Courtroom requires proof past an affordable doubt (considerably greater commonplace than the “cheap grounds to consider” commonplace required for the issuance of an arrest warrant).” Securing convictions would require unimpeachable, verifiable digital proof. Meaning we have to begin defending these recordsdata now.

Proof alone will not be sufficient to fight lies. It’s by no means sufficient. Proof, digital or analog, can all the time be maligned by those that would favor it didn’t exist. Simply ask the prosecutors on the District Courtroom of The Hague who’re pursuing the case in opposition to the Russian-backed separatists accountable for downing a civilian jetliner in 2014. They issued their closing arguments in December 2021, seven years after the incident occurred. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, proof additionally circulated on-line, and social media performed a crucial position in documenting the occupation. Not all of these hyperlinks had been preserved, which implies that essential items of proof have seemingly been misplaced.

Circumstances pertaining to the 2014 Russian invasion in Ukraine are nonetheless working their method by way of worldwide courts; the atrocities dedicated over the past week characterize a continuation and escalation of an ongoing warfare. The distinction is that now the worldwide group is healthier geared up to make sure that artifacts documenting the obliteration of the Ukrainian individuals and nation are archived and guarded in opposition to manipulation till the day when trials start—and lengthy after they finish.

Hungary’s Orban defends response to Ukraine war refugees | Russia-Ukraine war News

Prime minister, who has been criticised for hardline border insurance policies, says ‘migrants will probably be stopped, refugees can get all assist’.

Beregsurany, Hungary-Ukraine border – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defended his nation’s resolution to open its borders to individuals fleeing battle in Ukraine, in contrast with the response to those that have been in search of security within the European Union in recent times.

Talking to Al Jazeera on Thursday at an assist centre in Beregsurany, one of many important crossing factors on Hungary’s 135km (84-mile) frontier with Ukraine, he mentioned: “We’re not residing in a snug West, we live within the midst of difficulties, not simply now however all through our historical past, so we’re in a position to inform the distinction between who’s a migrant and who’s a refugee.”

He added: “Migrants are stopped. Refugees can get all the assistance.”

Hours after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Orban reversed Budapest’s hardline border insurance policies that in recent times have attracted sharp criticism by rights teams and worldwide organisations.

Orban meets Ukrainian Refugees
Orban meets refugees close to the border [Amanda Coakley/Al Jazeera]

“We’re ready to care for them [Ukrainians], and we’ll be capable to rise to the problem shortly and effectively,” he mentioned in a press release.

About 105,000 individuals have crossed into Hungary in per week and have been met with a well-organised humanitarian mission made up of Hungarians from throughout the nation.

Total, multiple million individuals have fled Ukraine, together with in Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, for the reason that battle started.

INTERACTIVE_Refugees DAY 8 - March 3 - one million
(Al Jazeera)

In 2015, Hungary had closed its border with Serbia and erected a razor fence to discourage individuals fleeing battle, oppression and poverty from crossing into the EU. In July 2016, Orban’s nationalist authorities handed a regulation that legalised pushbacks – the observe of pushing asylum seekers again throughout borders with out due course of.

The European Courtroom of Justice has dominated the transfer was in violation of EU regulation.

Imre Szabjan, the pinnacle of the emergency division on the Hungarian Charity Service Affiliation of the Order of Malta, advised Al Jazeera the variety of refugees is prone to enhance within the coming days. “At first the individuals arriving in Hungary had somebody to fulfill them, now we’re seeing extra individuals arriving with only one bag and no thought what to do subsequent. So we’re giving them meals, shelter and speaking via prospects with them. Nobody is left on their very own.”

Throughout his 20-minute go to to Beregsurany, Orban spoke to individuals who had crossed from Ukraine on Thursday morning. He additionally spoke to the military of native volunteers who’re offering a 24-hour tea and sandwich operation.

“Hungary is an efficient good friend of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian individuals. In the event that they want any assist, we’re right here they usually can rely on us,” he advised journalists.

Ukrainian Refugees arriving in Hungary
About 105,000 individuals have crossed into Hungary over the previous week [Amanda Coakley/Al Jazeera]

When requested for a message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Orban, who has loved a detailed relationship with Russia’s chief, was coy.

“We attempt to present all the possibilities for negotiations as a result of what’s going on now’s battle, the battle can solely be stopped by negotiations, and peace talks, and ceasefire – in the event that they want us to make peace Hungary is all the time out there,” he mentioned.

Hungary has supported Western sanctions towards Russia however International Minister Peter Szijjarta introduced on Monday the nation wouldn’t permit deadly assist to transit its borders en path to forces in Ukraine.

Ukraine Is in an Environmental Crisis Too

Within the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine, the bottom has been behaving surprisingly. In some locations, it’s sinking; elsewhere it “heaves”—bulging upward, in keeping with satellite data released this week. Earlier than it turned a battle zone, the Donbas has lengthy been Ukraine’s coal nation, and the earth is riddled with tons of of miles of tunnels beneath cities, factories, and farms, lots of them deserted. Not too long ago, these shafts have been flooding, inflicting the floor to shift and carrying poisonous chemical substances that now threaten the area’s water provide. A type of mines, the positioning of a nuclear check within the Seventies, stays doubtlessly radioactive. Ukrainian scientists have warned that the dangers to the area may very well be “extra deep and harmful than Chernobyl.”

Since 2014, when Russia’s annexation of Crimea sparked preventing within the Donbas, the area has been the positioning of a parallel ecological disaster. It entails not solely the mines, however poisonous leaks from industrial services which have fallen into disuse and contamination brought on by shelling and munitions. That’s partly as a result of chaos of a drawn-out battle: In a contested area, who ought to bear the prices of pumping groundwater out of deserted mines? At different occasions, the surroundings has been wielded as a weapon of battle, corresponding to when militants shelled chlorine shares at a wastewater plant, threatening to break the native water provide.

The well being results of those sorts of wartime incidents are more likely to be felt lengthy after the bodily battle subsides, says Doug Weir, director of analysis and coverage on the UK-based Battle and Atmosphere Observatory. However for that very same purpose, they’re usually ignored, as a result of the harm unfurls in sluggish movement, lengthy after the bombs have stopped falling and the world’s consideration has moved on. Now eight years into that battle, final week’s Russian invasion will escalate the environmental harms of battle throughout the remainder of Ukraine.

“It is an extension of what we’ve seen within the Donbas, the place you could have a battle amidst this tremendous concentrated quantity of heavy business and this grim environmental historical past,” Weir says. A lot of the preventing is now occurring in city areas like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol, the place industrial services, army installations, and radioactive waste repositories have come beneath fireplace from Russian planes and artillery. These weapons have the potential to go away not solely rapid destruction, however an extended tail of polluted air and water that can be felt by close by residents lengthy after the battle subsides.

Because the mid-Nineties battle in Kosovo, the United Nations has tried to reel within the environmental harms in battle zones and hasten cleanup within the aftermath. However some international locations, together with Russia, have pushed again on organising guardrails, Weir notes. “They take fairly a fatalistic method to environmental harm in battle as the price of doing enterprise,” he says. Because the battle drags on—seemingly longer than Russian forces anticipated—Weir fears that because the Russian army will get extra determined, the environmental harm is not going to simply be collateral, however a instrument of power towards Ukrainians.

Not that points like air pollution are prime of thoughts whereas air raid sirens are ringing throughout the nation, notes Andriy Andrusevych, an environmental lawyer based mostly in Lviv, Ukraine. The nation is presently flying blind when it comes to watching industrial emissions, he provides, since air pollution monitoring programs are largely offline or going unchecked. However as a closely industrialized nation, Ukraine already had a baseline of dangerous air. “They have been already one of many worst air high quality areas in Europe previous to this,” says Mary Prunicki, director of air air pollution and well being analysis on the Sean N. Parker Heart for Allergy Analysis on the Stanford College College of Drugs. “If a few of these industrial websites are being focused or by accident hit and burning, that is going to place numerous poisonous substances into the air.”

As Ukraine war rages, fear over safety of terminally ill children | Russia-Ukraine war News

Medics at a hospital in Zaporizhzhia make preparations as they brace for a Russian assault on the town in jap Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine – Two weeks in the past, Nastiya left her city of Vasylivka in jap Ukraine to carry her five-year-old son Volodymyr to a hospital within the metropolis of Zaporizhzhia, additional north.

The boy was affected by inside bleeding and was in a important situation. He has since improved however the mom and son can’t return dwelling.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to assault Ukraine by air, land and sea. Ukraine’s resistance has been fierce, repelling assaults on the capital, Kyiv, and different main cities, however battles have intensified in latest days.

Vasylivka is likely one of the cities which can be being closely fought over by defending Ukrainian forces and advancing Russian troops. Individuals who tried to enter the city to ship support instructed Al Jazeera they had been turned again by the Ukrainian military due to the Russian shelling.

“In fact I’m apprehensive, I’ve three different youngsters at dwelling,” Nastiya instructed Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, standing beside Volodymyr’s hospital mattress.

“There was shelling and they’re hiding within the basement.”

INTERACTIVE Russia-Ukraine map Who controls what in Ukraine DAY 8
(Al Jazeera)

Elsewhere contained in the hospital, new child infants in incubators line the hall. Docs have moved them right here to defend them within the case of Russian shelling.

“This space is protected against shrapnel if there’s a blast so we put the infants right here,” defined Vyacheslav Kapusta, a health care provider on the hospital. “It’s deep contained in the constructing between two partitions.”

Within the hospital’s chilly and damp basement, workers are making ready beds for a attainable transport of sufferers.

“All of them have terminal ailments,” Igor Buiny, an anaesthetist, instructed Al Jazeera from contained in the intensive care unit.

“They’re incurable so we have now to depart them right here in case of an air alert as a result of they’re depending on oxygen and resuscitation gear and we can’t transport every little thing mandatory for them there.”

Outdoors the hospital, volunteers are filling sandbags to strengthen doorways and shield the home windows if shells explode close by.

As Russian troops transfer additional into Ukraine, civilians have been organising to assist struggle alongside Ukrainian troopers, the tempo extra pressing for the reason that military stated this week Russian tank columns are lower than 40km (25 miles) away.

Armed volunteers are additionally able to be taken to positions across the metropolis, and extra women and men arrive, ready to enroll to struggle.

“I don’t need my household killed. I received’t enable them to march on our land. They’re the occupiers and they need to be eradicated,” one man instructed Al Jazeera.

Russia insists its forces are solely concentrating on navy infrastructure, however reviews from the bottom counsel a mounting civilian dying toll. The United Nations says it has confirmed the deaths of a minimum of 227 civilians and 525 folks injured as of midnight on March 1, however warns the true toll is probably going a lot increased.

Ukraine Becomes the World’s “First TikTok War”

Some of the placing photos from the primary days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an image, taken by the photojournalist Tyler Hicks, depicting a lifeless soldier sprawled on the bottom in entrance of a disabled tank, his physique lined in a sheet of contemporary snow. The {photograph} ran on the entrance web page of the Instances on February twenty sixth. Its caption famous that each the soldier and the armored automobile have been Russian and that the photograph was taken in Kharkiv, the town in northeastern Ukraine the place a few of the most intense combating has been happening. One other equally arresting doc of the battle’s beginnings is a TikTok video, posted on February twenty fourth, displaying phone-camera photos and video clips of missiles falling over the town of Kyiv like fireworks. A line of textual content reads, “The capital of Ukraine for the time being.” The video is ready, with breathtaking incongruity, to “Little Darkish Age,” a tune by the indie-pop band MGMT, whose lyrics have grow to be one thing of an audio meme on TikTok: “Simply know that when you cover, it doesn’t go away.”

Hicks’s image, in fact, is an instance of conventional photojournalism—a battle photographer capturing motion on the entrance traces of battle in a rigorously composed picture printed in a newspaper. The video, which as of my final depend had greater than 9 million likes, is user-generated content material broadcast on-line, following the aesthetic norms of TikTok: uneven, decontextualized, with catchy pop music within the background. What stands out about protection of the battle in Ukraine thus far is how completely the latter class of content material has permeated the collective consciousness, offering a few of the earliest and most direct glimpses of the Russian invasion. The Web-focussed podcast “The Content material Mines” referred to as the Ukraine invasion “The Most On-line Conflict of All Time Till the Subsequent One.” Different publications have dubbed it the “first TikTok battle.”

The invasion of Ukraine isn’t the primary battle to play out over social media. The Arab Spring uprisings and the Syrian civil battle used Fb and Twitter to prepare protests and broadcast D.I.Y. footage. However within the intervening years, social platforms have grow to be extra geared towards multimedia, and smartphones have grow to be higher at capturing and streaming occasions in actual time. Massive numbers of Ukrainian civilians are taking on arms to defend their nation towards Vladimir Putin’s reckless imperialism; they’re additionally deploying their cell cameras to doc the invasion in granular element. The battle has grow to be content material, flowing throughout each platform without delay. One video that has circulated in current days seems to point out a Ukrainian man gingerly shifting a mine, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, off of a street and into the woods. A single tweet earned the clip greater than ten million views, however it may be discovered on YouTube, TikTok, and the websites of assorted information publications. Maybe owing to Western sympathies with the plight of Ukrainians, their movies have overwhelmed American feeds in a manner few overseas information tales ever do.

It’s surreal to see well-established social-media formulation utilized to floor warfare. A TikTok from February twelfth reveals an outfitted Ukrainian soldier moonwalking to Michael Jackson’s “Clean Felony” in an empty subject. It has earned greater than twelve million likes and tons of of hundreds of feedback, together with “be secure guys.” On February twenty fourth, a person named @whereislizzyy posted two perky, influencer-style selfie movies in an expensive residence inside, lip-synching to “Who’s That Chick?,” a tune by David Guetta that includes Rihanna. One had a caption that learn, “When Russian attacked us so we r leaving at 8 am.” Quickly after, a Ukrainian person named @valerisssh posted a video that follows a well-liked TikTok template during which customers level out numerous cool elements of their houses whereas a jokey Italian tune performs they usually carry out an identical hand gesture. Right here, although, she identified issues in her “bomb shelter” that “simply make sense,” because the meme goes, together with a house gymnasium, two bogs, and a “Ukrainian navy breakfast” of bananas and yogurt. In a later TikTok, the identical person paperwork a “typical day throughout battle in Ukraine” and ends with a clip of a cinema that had been bombed. The movies are Web jokes and lethal severe paperwork on the identical time.

These battle movies converse to TikTok customers in their very own language, and the most well-liked amongst them can function a robust type of publicity for the Ukrainian trigger. In a speech on February twenty fourth, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, a former actor and expert social-media person, acknowledged as a lot, imploring Russian TikTok customers together with “scientists, medical doctors, bloggers, standup comedians” to step up and assist cease the battle. On TikTok, Ukrainians seem to viewers much less as distant victims than as fellow Net denizens who know the identical references, take heed to the identical music, and use the identical social networks as they do. The content material of the clips and the digital areas during which they’re consumed create a way of intimacy that photojournalism, with its tinge of voyeurism, generally lacks.

In her ebook “Concerning the Ache of Others,” from 2003, Susan Sontag tracked the evolution of battle journalism from pictures to tv. The Spanish Civil Conflict marked the emergence of the professionalized photojournalist, outfitted with a Leica 35-mm. movie digital camera to seize the battle on the bottom. The Vietnam Conflict was the primary battle to be televised, and it made the carnage in battle zones “a routine ingredient of the ceaseless circulation of home, small-screen leisure,” Sontag wrote. Now the small screens are our telephones as an alternative of televisions, and the battle footage takes its place within the midst of our 24/7 feeds, subsequent to debates a couple of TV collection finale, cute animal pictures, and updates on different modern disasters. The varied types of content material disorientingly overlap—the skilled with the newbie, the intentional with the incidental. The Instagram account of an Web-famous cat named Stepan, whose proprietor lives in Ukraine and has amassed 1,000,000 followers, lately shifted from sharing goofy pet portraits to posting pictures of a missile assault on Kharkiv. Such onerous proof of the invasion abruptly punctures the placelessness of the Web, reminding viewers that they’re watching an actual particular person in actual hazard.

For Sontag, images had a “deeper chunk” than video when it got here to documenting battle. A single picture taken on the bottom might endure for generations, like Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil Conflict {photograph} “The Falling Soldier.” Social-media documentation is much less more likely to final—it’s ephemeral by design—however for the buyer it might create a extra fast, immersive expertise of a state of affairs unfolding within the second. A lady provides start whereas sheltering in a Kyiv metro station. Elsewhere within the metro, households huddle with their cats and canine. A Ukrainian father says a tearful goodbye to his household. A farming tractor seems to tow an deserted Russian tank. A British man data himself packing a bag, together with tea, to go to Ukraine “to rescue my spouse and son.” Collectively these snippets current a montage of life abruptly in wartime. They conjure ideas of the way you your self would possibly react in such banal, horrible circumstances, outfitted with solely a telephone digital camera. What else is there to do in a bomb shelter however make selfie movies and broadcast them to the skin world?

Zelensky himself has made shrewd use of this sense of relatability, fascinating the world along with his shaky selfie movies recorded from the road. He used this format to fight rumors that he had fled the nation, casting himself as an everyman braving an unlimited wrestle, David versus Goliath. In a video posted on February twenty fifth, he stood in entrance of a clutch of his authorities officers. “We’re all right here,” he mentioned.

There are apparent downsides to receiving updates from a chaotic battle by way of scattershot bits of digital media. On the Web, all content material follows comparable legal guidelines of movement, whether or not it’s displaying a land invasion in Europe or a cat doing one thing humorous. No matter is partaking turns into extra standard, no matter its provenance or high quality. TikTok’s algorithmic feed particularly makes it simple to passively eat one video and transfer on to the following with out questioning the content material’s sourcing. (As one TikTok poster put it, “im actually watching thirst traps adopted by footage of w@r crimes after which an advert for moisturizer all inside 30s of one another.”) Up to now week, a video clip labelled the “Ghost of Kyiv,” purporting to point out a fighter pilot capturing down Russian jets, attracted hundreds of thousands of views in numerous iterations on TikTok. The clip really got here from a online game referred to as D.C.S. World, whose grainy, wavering graphics are simple to mistake for genuine footage. The truth that the video was faux didn’t cease folks from sharing it or different equally mislabelled clips. One video displaying Russian paratroopers is from 2016. One other reveals a lightning strike at an influence plant, not a navy assault. An unimaginable aircraft-versus-artillery clip was computer-rendered in 2021. It requires work to find out if a submit is from an precise Ukrainian resident as an alternative of a “war-page” aggregation account making an attempt to rack up followers and likes.

The aim of battle photojournalism is to bear witness; it’s as much as the viewer to interpret what she sees within the photos that consequence. As Sontag wrote, “Pictures of an atrocity might give rise to opposing responses. A name for peace. A cry for revenge. Or just the bemused consciousness, regularly restocked by photographic data, that horrible issues occur.” Hicks’s photograph of the lifeless Russian soldier is a grisly doc of the entrance traces, a visible image of the human price, on each side, of an pointless battle. It might be potent sufficient to lodge in our minds. The flood of TikTok movies is probably extra more likely to evoke our bemused consciousness, a sense of sympathy that lasts solely lengthy sufficient to maintain us scrolling. But because the Russian convoys outdoors of Kyiv proceed trying to penetrate the town heart, conventional information organizations are pulling their journalists to security. Social media is an imperfect chronicler of wartime. In some instances, it might even be essentially the most dependable supply we have now.

Why was Pakistan’s PM in Russia amid the Ukraine invasion? | Opinions

Towards a backdrop of quickly rising tensions between Russia and the West, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s long-planned February 23-24 go to to Moscow, the primary official state go to by a Pakistani head of presidency in 20 years, was at all times going to be a dangerous gambit.

However nobody absolutely predicted how controversial its timing would ultimately show to be.

On February 21, Russia recognised two breakaway areas in Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, as unbiased entities and ordered Russian troops to “preserve peace” there. Classifying the transfer as “the start of an invasion”, the US introduced a primary tranche of sanctions towards Russia, together with steps to starve the nation of financing. Regardless of these developments inserting your complete world on excessive alert, Prime Minister Khan selected to not cancel or postpone his Moscow go to. And when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin formally introduced the invasion of Ukraine simply earlier than dawn on February 24, eliciting swift world condemnation and sending worldwide markets right into a tailspin, Prime Minister Khan and his delegation had been simply settling of their resort rooms in Moscow.

It’s little shock that the Pakistani go to to Moscow, primarily supposed to spice up vitality and financial cooperation between the 2 sides and provides impetus to the multibillion-dollar Pakistan Stream Fuel Pipeline, instantly got here beneath hearth for its precarious timing. However additionally it is true that any eleventh-hour manoeuvring on the Pakistani aspect would have been fraught with difficulties.

The bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Moscow is just not with out vital scar tissue, left over from Pakistan’s alignment with the US through the Chilly Conflict, the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan within the Eighties, and Russia’s shut defence ties with Pakistan’s nemesis India. And there’s a lot cause – each political and financial – for Pakistan to wish to capitalise on current efforts to reset the connection.

At present, the Pakistani management is trying to urgently stabilise the nation’s inflation-hit financial system by growing home productiveness and attracting overseas funding. To realize its financial objectives, Pakistan is conscious that it wants to keep up regional peace and keep away from getting entangled within the increasing mesh of world energy politics.

This need to keep up peaceable relations within the area has strengthened the Pakistani authorities’s expressed dedication to growing regional connectivity and inspired it to expedite work on the China-Pakistan Financial Hall, a core part of which incorporates the upgrading and rebranding of the nation’s maritime commerce routes by the ports of Karachi and Gwadar. Each Pakistan and China have maintained that these tasks and routes are and can stay regionally inclusive. Pakistan’s first-ever Nationwide Safety Coverage, unveiled earlier this yr, reaffirmed the federal government’s aspiration for regional integration and even contained tentative provisions for higher relations with its archrival India. The doc additionally known as for the “reimagining [the country’s] partnership with Russia in vitality, defence cooperation, and funding”.

On this context, Prime Minister Khan’s resolution to go ahead along with his scheduled assembly with Putin to reveal his need for stronger ties and additional collaboration with Russia might be seen as an inherently rational transfer. Russia has already agreed to put money into the Pakistan Stream Fuel Pipeline between Karachi and the town of Kasur in Punjab – a challenge price greater than $2bn that will significantly assist service Pakistan’s ever-increasing vitality calls for as soon as accomplished. On the political and safety entrance, Islamabad has cause to hunt nearer ties with Russia now, particularly after the US’s catastrophically executed withdrawal from Afghanistan in August final yr. In different phrases, whereas Prime Minister Khan had a lot to lose from backing out of his deliberate go to to Moscow on account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he additionally had little to realize.

Moreover, in keeping with their need to concentrate on the financial system and good regional relations, Pakistani officers have lengthy expressed their nation’s need to avoid coalition-building workout routines harking back to Chilly Conflict bloc politics. They’ve repeatedly made it clear, for instance, that Pakistan’s relationship with neighbouring China, which has undergone vital deepening since 2016, shouldn’t be misconstrued by the West as a zero-sum alternative amidst rising Sino-US competitors. Prime Minister Khan’s resolution to go ahead along with his Moscow go to regardless of the escalation in Ukraine – and the coalition-building actions it paved the best way to – doubtless adopted the identical pondering.

Certainly, in a press release issued simply earlier than Putin and Khan’s one-to-one assembly on February 24, Pakistan’s overseas ministry mentioned Prime Minister Khan “regrets” the “newest state of affairs” between Russia and Ukraine and had hoped “diplomacy may avert a navy battle”. The assertion expressed Pakistan’s opposition to the invasion however shunned outrightly condemning Moscow, demonstrating Islamabad’s need to keep up cautious neutrality on the rising tensions between Russia and the West.

That Prime Minister Khan’s long-awaited go to to Moscow was overshadowed by the invasion of Ukraine, nonetheless, has doubtless solely elevated Pakistan’s wariness of the numerous geopolitical tradeoffs that strategic closeness with Moscow entails. Tensions with the West however, Russia additionally at present occurs to be the biggest arms exporter to India. The Indian Air Pressure is within the strategy of deploying Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system batteries on its western border with Pakistan as a method to thrust back airborne threats, and Indian Air Pressure officers and personnel have been receiving Russian coaching on these new methods. India’s defence and safety closeness to Russia dates again to the Soviet period, again when the Kremlin actively backed India within the 1971 battle that price Pakistan its jap wing. Pakistan is thus cautious of turning into too shut or depending on Russia however doesn’t wish to hurt strengthening relations and push this world energy additional into the arms of India both.

Whereas it values its rising ties with Russia for a number of intersecting causes, Pakistan’s authorities can be not prepared to surrender on its tremulous however vital relationship with the West.

Regardless of a current dampening of relations, epitomised most notably by the absence of any direct communication to this point between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Joe Biden, Pakistan’s management recognises the need of maintaining the Pakistan-US relationship off the ventilator. In spite of everything, the US is Pakistan’s largest export market and a number one potential investor in regional connectivity tasks such because the 1,300-megawatt CASA-1000 vitality challenge that provides electrical energy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Furthermore, the IMF not too long ago accredited a $1bn disbursement to Pakistan beneath a $6bn mortgage programme that’s prone to be spent financing imports and servicing overseas debt to forestall the Pakistani rupee from depreciating additional.

On the strategic entrance, a lot of Pakistan’s navy tools continues to learn from American logistical and technical servicing. Moreover, regardless of its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan continues to view the US as a obligatory if reluctant regional safety collaborator, because it not too long ago demonstrated by inviting the US state division’s particular consultant on Afghanistan to a Pakistan-convened Organisation of Islamic Cooperation emergency assembly on Afghanistan.

It’s, nonetheless, can be not misplaced on Pakistani management that US insurance policies in the direction of South Asia are formed by strategic concerns that always run counter to Pakistan’s personal. The US strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific, for instance, has elevated India right into a bulwark place towards China, weakening Pakistan’s hand towards its hostile neighbour and inspiring it to hunt different avenues of help to guard the fragile strategic steadiness within the area.

All in all, regardless of receiving vocal criticism from some quarters within the West, by going ahead along with his go to to Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Khan appears to have taken a calculated danger in keeping with what Pakistan sees as its present strategic, financial and political pursuits.

It’s nonetheless not clear whether or not President Putin will settle for Prime Minister Khan’s invitation to go to Pakistan later this yr. Whereas 5 US presidents have visited Pakistan since 1947, a Russian head of state has but to make the journey – so if Putin does conform to make the journey to Islamabad, he could be the primary Russian chief to take action, and can ship an vital message about the way forward for Russo-Pak relations.

With an invasion of Ukraine beneath means and the US having now exited Afghanistan, Russia will undoubtedly even be paying nearer consideration to its southern flank than ever earlier than, and can doubtless wish to hold an in depth eye on the Taliban regime in Kabul. To this finish, Moscow might nicely see nearer contact with Islamabad as a method to shoring up contact with Afghanistan’s new management.

Pakistan’s personal relationship with the Taliban is, in fact, not uncomplicated, however to this point it has tried to work in tandem with China, Russia and the US to assist construct a regional consensus that may undergird stability in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood. Ultimately, Islamabad seems prepared and capable of work with Moscow – regardless of some underlying geopolitical contradictions – to stabilise South Asia, promote regional integration, and avert a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, at the same time as one, paradoxically, could also be starting in Eurasia.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Refugee count tops 1 million; Russians besiege Ukraine ports

Native militiaman Valery, 37, carries a baby as he helps a fleeing household throughout a bridge destroyed by artillery, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. Russian forces have escalated their assaults on crowded cities in what Ukraine’s chief referred to as a blatant marketing campaign of terror. (Emilio Morenatti, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 7-8 minutes

KYIV, Ukraine — The variety of folks despatched fleeing Ukraine by Russia’s invasion topped 1 million on Wednesday, the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations stated, as Russian forces stored up their bombardment of the nation’s second-biggest metropolis, Kharkiv, and laid siege to 2 strategic seaports.

The tally from the U.N. refugee company launched to The Related Press quantities to greater than 2 p.c of Ukraine’s inhabitants being pressured in a foreign country in lower than every week. The mass evacuation may very well be seen in Kharkiv, the place residents determined to get away from falling shells and bombs crowded the town’s practice station and tried to press onto trains, not all the time figuring out the place they have been headed.

In a videotaped deal with, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to as on Ukrainians to maintain up the resistance. He vowed that the invaders would have “not one quiet second” and described Russian troopers as “confused youngsters who’ve been used.”

Moscow’s isolation deepened, in the meantime, when many of the world lined up towards it on the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. And the prosecutor for the Worldwide Prison Court docket opened an investigation into doable warfare crimes.

With combating occurring on a number of fronts throughout the nation, Britain’s Protection Ministry stated Mariupol, a big metropolis on the Azov Sea, was encircled by Russian forces, whereas the standing of one other important port, Kherson, a Black Sea shipbuilding metropolis of 280,000, remained unclear.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces claimed to have taken full management of Kherson, which might make it the largest metropolis to fall but within the invasion. However a senior U.S. protection official disputed that.

“Our view is that Kherson may be very a lot a contested metropolis,” the official stated, talking on situation of anonymity.

Zelenskyy’s workplace advised The Related Press that it couldn’t touch upon the scenario in Kherson whereas the combating was nonetheless occurring.

We can’t even take the wounded from the streets, from homes and flats immediately, for the reason that shelling doesn’t cease.

–Vadym Boychenko, mayor of Mariupol, Ukraine

However the mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolykhaev, stated Russian troopers have been within the metropolis and got here to the town administration constructing. He stated he requested them to not shoot civilians and to permit crews to collect up the our bodies from the streets.

“I merely requested them to not shoot at folks,” he stated in a press release. “We haven’t any Ukrainian forces within the metropolis, solely civilians and other people right here who need to LIVE.”

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko stated the assaults there had been relentless.

“We can’t even take the wounded from the streets, from homes and flats immediately, for the reason that shelling doesn’t cease,” he was quoted by the Interfax information company as saying.

Russia reported its navy casualties for the primary time for the reason that invasion started final week, saying almost 500 of its troops have been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded. Ukraine didn’t disclose its personal navy losses however stated greater than 2,000 civilians have died, a declare that might not be independently verified.

In a video deal with to the nation early Thursday, Zelenskyy praised his nation’s resistance.

“We’re a individuals who in every week have destroyed the plans of the enemy,” he stated. “They may haven’t any peace right here. They may haven’t any meals. They may have right here not one quiet second.”

He stated the combating is taking a toll on the morale of Russian troopers, who “go into grocery shops and attempt to discover one thing to eat.”

“These usually are not warriors of a superpower,” he stated. “These are confused youngsters who’ve been used.”

Ukrainian volunteers sort donated foods for later distribution to the local population while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears on television in Lviv, western Ukraine, Wednesday.
Ukrainian volunteers type donated meals for later distribution to the native inhabitants whereas Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seems on tv in Lviv, western Ukraine, Wednesday. (Picture: Bernat Armangue, Related Press)

In the meantime, the senior U.S. protection official stated an immense column of lots of of tanks and different automobiles seemed to be stalled roughly 16 miles from Kyiv and had made no actual progress within the final couple of days.

The convoy, which earlier within the week had appeared poised to launch an assault on the capital, has been plagued with gas and meals shortages and has confronted fierce Ukrainian resistance, the official stated.

On the far edges of Kyiv, volunteer fighters nicely into their 60s manned a checkpoint to attempt to block the Russian advance.

“In my outdated age, I needed to take up arms,” stated Andrey Goncharuk, 68. He stated the fighters wanted extra weapons, however “we’ll kill the enemy and take their weapons.”

Round Ukraine, others crowded into practice stations, carrying youngsters wrapped in blankets and dragging wheeled suitcases into new lives as refugees. Shabia Mantoo, a spokesperson for the refugee company often known as UNHCR, stated Wednesday that “at this price” the exodus from Ukraine may make it the supply of “the largest refugee disaster this century.”

A big explosion shook central Kyiv on Wednesday night time in what the president’s workplace stated was a missile strike close to the capital metropolis’s southern railway station. There was no instant phrase on any deaths or accidents. Hundreds of Ukrainians have been fleeing the town by means of the sprawling railway complicated.

Russian forces pounded Kharkiv, Ukraine’s greatest metropolis after Kyiv, with about 1.5 million folks, in one other spherical of aerial assaults that shattered buildings and lit up the skyline with flames. At the very least 21 folks have been killed and 112 injured over the previous day, stated Oleg Sinehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional administration.

A number of Russian planes have been shot down over Kharkiv, in line with Oleksiy Arestovich, a high adviser to Zelenskyy.

“Kharkiv immediately is the Stalingrad of the twenty first century,” Arestovich stated, invoking what is taken into account one of the vital heroic episodes in Russian historical past, the five-month protection of the town from the Nazis throughout World Struggle II.

From his basement bunker, Kharkiv Mayor Igor Terekhov advised the BBC: “The town is united and we will stand quick.”

A view of smoke from inside a damaged gym following shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday.
A view of smoke from inside a broken fitness center following shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday. (Picture: Efrem Lukatsky, Related Press)

Russian assaults, many with missiles, blew the roof off Kharkiv’s five-story regional police constructing and set the highest flooring on fireplace, and in addition hit the intelligence headquarters and a college constructing, in line with officers and movies and images launched by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service. Officers stated residential buildings have been additionally hit, however gave no particulars.

The top of the U.N. nuclear watchdog company warned that the combating poses a hazard to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.

Rafael Grossi of the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company famous that the warfare is “the primary time a navy battle is occurring amid the amenities of a giant, established nuclear energy program,” and he stated he’s “gravely involved.”

Russia already has seized management of the decommissioned Chernobyl energy plant, the scene in 1986 of the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe.

In New York, the U.N. Normal Meeting voted to demand that Russia cease its offensive and instantly withdraw all troops, with world powers and tiny island states alike condemning Moscow. The vote was 141 to five, with 35 abstentions.

Meeting resolutions aren’t legally binding however can mirror and affect world opinion.

The vote got here after the 193-member meeting convened its first emergency session since 1997. The one international locations to vote with Russia have been Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. Cuba spoke in Moscow’s protection however finally abstained.

Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya stated Russian forces “have come to the Ukrainian soil, not solely to kill a few of us … they’ve come to deprive Ukraine of the very proper to exist.” He added: “The crimes are so barbaric that it’s troublesome to grasp.”

Russia ramped up its rhetoric. International Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded the world in regards to the nation’s huge nuclear arsenal when he stated in an interview with Al-Jazeera that “a 3rd world warfare may solely be nuclear.”

Within the northern metropolis of Chernihiv, two cruise missiles hit a hospital, in line with the Ukrainian UNIAN information company, which quoted the well being administration chief, Serhiy Pivovar, as saying authorities have been working to find out the casualty toll.

In different developments:

  • A second spherical of talks aimed toward ending the combating was anticipated Thursday, however there seemed to be little frequent floor between the 2 sides.
  • The worth of oil continued to soar, reaching $112 per barrel, the very best since 2014.
  • Russia discovered itself much more remoted economically as Airbus and Boeing stated they’d reduce off spare elements and technical assist to the nation’s airways, a serious blow. Airbus and Boeing jets account for the overwhelming majority or Russia’s passenger fleet.

Contributing: Mstyslav Chernov, Sergei Grits, Robert Burns, Eric Tucker, Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman, Andrew Drake, Lorne Prepare dinner, Edith M. Lederer, Jennifer Peltz and others.


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Photos: Shelling continues in Ukraine as Russian forces advance | Gallery News

A couple of million folks have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, within the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations says.

“In simply seven days we have now witnessed the exodus of 1 million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring nations,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi tweeted. “Except there may be a right away finish to the battle, tens of millions extra are more likely to be pressured to flee Ukraine.”

Russian troops have been within the centre of the southern Ukrainian port metropolis of Kherson on Thursday after a day of conflicting claims over whether or not Moscow had captured a significant city centre for the primary time in its eight-day invasion.

The seize of Kherson, a strategic southern provincial capital the place the Dnieper River flows into the Black Sea, is the primary important metropolis to fall since Moscow launched its assault on February 24.

Ukraine’s second metropolis Kharkiv continues to return underneath heavy Russian shelling, with police and college buildings among the many newest struck.

The Group for Safety and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says a member of its observer mission died within the shelling.

Russia denies concentrating on civilians though there have been widespread studies of non-combatant casualties and the concentrating on of residential areas.

Russia on Wednesday reported its navy casualties for the primary time because the invasion started final week, saying almost 500 of its troops had been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded.